Provincial Managers on the state of the Provinces: Eastern Cape, Western Cape & KwaZulu- Natal

Home Affairs

12 September 2011
Chairperson: Ms M Maunye (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Committee received a briefing from Provincial Managers in the Department of Home Affairs. The presentations focused on the state of the Department’s provincial offices after the first quarter in KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.

The KwaZulu Natal Provincial Office had launched an initiative involving volunteers in two municipalities in the province. Ethekwini Metro and Umgungundlovu District had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Home Affairs. The agreement was aimed at formalising the relationship in order to give meaning to the National Population Registration Campaign. The Provincial Office was ranked fifth in the country in its turnaround time on ID applications. It was ranked sixth in the country on its Late Registration of Birth (LRB) turnaround times and it was ranked fifth in informing LRB applicants on the status of their application. The Provincial Office had aimed to secure space in 10 health facilities in the 2011/12 financial year and had thus far managed to secure 2 such spaces. The Provincial Office had had a total of 913 vacant posts and had filled 757 (83%) of those posts with 156 yet to be filled. The Provincial Office had been granted an allocation of R175 million and had thus far spent R37 million (22%) in the first quarter. It had generated R35 million in revenue in the first quarter. Amongst some of its achievements, the PO counted an improved financial & assets management, integration of services, better management at offices, improved service delivery and improved stakeholders relations. The PO had installed queue management systems and had had better management of queues, improved monitoring of performance, improved client satisfaction & efficiency, and improved time management. Amongst some of its remaining challenges, there was the high influx of asylum seekers, a shortage of office space at Health facilities in order to expand the connectivity, and a lack of capacity at ports of entry.

The Eastern Cape Provincial Office highlighted its footprint across the province. The Eastern Cape had 6 District Municipalities, 37 Local Municipalities & 2 Metropolitan Councils and the Department had offices in 29 Local Municipalities & had 10 operational offices & 4 Ports of Entry in the two Metros. As part of its outreach programme, the PO held numerous stakeholder forums across the province to gauge public comment on DHA policies. The Provincial Office had been allocated R174 million for the 2011/12 financial year. It had spent R51 million (31%) in the first quarter and had generated R8 million in revenue. Amongst its achievements the Provincial Office stated that its offices & mobile units had been capacitated and service delivery levels had improved. There had been a reduction in number of complaints and had ensured that learners writing matric were issued with IDs as required by the examination regulations. Amongst some of its remaining challenges, the PO stated that the non functionality of mobile units and offices which resulted in certificates not being issued on the spot remained a challenge. Duplicate cases were taking too long to resolve and there needed to be more interaction at the stakeholder forums to increase public participation in the work of the Department.

The Western Cape Provincial Office highlighted its footprint across the province and its footprint at hospitals across the province. The Provincial Office was connected in 15 hospitals across the province with a view to registering late births. The Provincial Office had refurbished 14 out of 22 offices to conform to the DHA corporate model. The Provincial Office had undertaken numerous stakeholder forums in various areas in the province as part of its goal to reach out to communities and increase public participation. The Provincial Office endeavoured to monitor and evaluate staff, improve queue management, focus resources on hospitals and high schools. It further promised to form partnerships with provincial departments and have telephone surveys in an attempt to improve response times. The Provincial Office had been allocated R141 million for the 2011/12 financial year and had generated R35 million in revenue in the first quarter. It had spent R37 million. The Provincial Office had visited 58 out of a targeted 64 schools in the first quarter. It had received 2 321 applications for IDs at those schools and had issued 145.

Members asked about turnaround timelines for efficiency and effectiveness in some provinces. They lamented the backlog in dealing with refugee and asylum seeker cases. They sought timelines on the adjudication of such cases. They sought clarity on what course of action was taken against those who had had their attempt to register a birth late rejected. They asked what the Provincial Offices would do to prevent undocumented foreign nationals from claiming benefits which were meant for citizens.

Meeting report

Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) Provincial Office Briefing
Mr Albert Matsaung, Acting Provincial Manager for KZN: Department of Home Affairs (DHA) briefed the Committee on the Provincial Office’s (PO) progress in the first quarter of the 2011/12 financial year.

The Department highlighted its footprint across the province. It had 126 offices across the province of which 113 were operational and 13 non-operational. The Provincial Office (PO) had 10 offices across all the metros in the province.

The PO outlined stakeholder forums and the need for them. The forums had been established to enhance consultation with communities at a Provincial, District and Local level by the DHA. Their main objectives were to reach out to communities which were in dire need of Departmental services and also to monitor and evaluate the community service needs. These had been evident through the National Population Registration Campaign (NPRC), with some of its goals including the registration of birth within thirty days and the elimination and eradication of corrupt and fraudulent entry into the National Population Register (NPR) by non-South African citizens. During the period April 2010 -March 2011, 58 DHA Stakeholder Forums had been launched i.e. 10 Districts, 47 Local Municipalities and 1 Metro. Each Municipality had the executive structure and the Chairperson of that structure chaired the forum. The DHA within the forum took the status of the secretariat.

The PO highlighted its participation in the various cluster groups of government which related to its work, showing that there was cooperation between different government departments to achieve the goals set by the executive. The PO had launched an initiative involving volunteers in two municipalities in the province. Ethekwini Metro and Umgungundlovu District had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the DHA. The agreement was aimed at formalising the relationship in order to give meaning to the National Population Registration Campaign. Ethekwini Metro pledged 95 volunteers and uMgungundlovu 56 volunteers with the successful volunteers trained by the DHA with a stipend paid by the Municipality. The Department in conjunction with the Municipalities deployed volunteers in areas where the services are needed. Monitoring and evaluation of their impact was also conducted which led to positive outcomes.

The PO was ranked fifth in the country in its turnaround time on ID applications. It was ranked sixth in on its Late Registration of Birth (LRB) turnaround times and it was ranked fifth in informing LRB applicants on the status of their application. The PO had visited 310 schools as part of its drive to get high school learners to apply for IDs. It had received 13 769 applications and thus far issued 753. The PO had received 102 290 applications for IDs in the first quarter and had thus far issued 102 607. The PO had aimed to secure space in 10 health facilities in the 2011/12 financial year and had thus far managed to secure 2 such spaces. The PO had aimed to register 30 885 births in the first quarter but had managed to register 40 411. It had issued 38 702 passports and dealt with 5 602 duplicate ID cases. The PO had dealt with the deportation of 246 illegal immigrants in the first quarter and had 1989 new arrivals seeking asylum. The PO previously had a total of 913 vacant posts and had filled 757 (83%) of those posts with 156 yet to be filled.

Mr Naveen Singh, Director for Finance and Support KZN: DHA briefed the Committee on the PO’s expenditure in the first quarter. The PO had been granted an allocation of R175 million and had thus far spent R37 million (22%) in the first quarter. It had generated R35 million in revenue in the first quarter. The PO had appointed a director for finance & support with delegated Assets responsibilities and officials at local offices to deal with Asset management and control. Full Asset verifications had been performed during the month of June 2011 by all offices. The verification process led to the compilation of the current asset register for the PO. Two offices were identified by the Auditor General for assets verification, namely Umgungundlovu (PMB) Local Office Large & Ladysmith Local office Average (LOA). Asset Registers were now displayed behind the door in each office for maintenance and control purposes.

The DHA had contracted G4 Security Company for cash in transit services. The collection and transfer to the bank was done on a daily basis and office managers were responsible for the management of the process. The PO had 17 mobile units of which 7 were dysfunctional; it had 117 vehicles with 12 currently out of service. The PO had 81 pending corruption and fraud cases and 15 labour related cases.

Amongst some of its achievements, the PO counted an improved financial & assets management, integration of services, better management at offices, improved service delivery and improved stakeholders relations. The PO had installed queue management systems and had had better management of queues, improved monitoring of performance, improved client satisfaction & efficiency, and improved time management. Amongst some of its remaining challenges, there was the high influx of asylum seekers, a shortage of office space at Health facilities in order to expand the connectivity, and a lack of capacity at ports of entry.

Eastern Cape Provincial Office Briefing
Ms Sonto Lusu, Acting Provincial Manager for Eastern Cape: DHA briefed the Committee on the Provincial Office’s (PO) progress in the first quarter of the 2011/12 financial year.

The Provincial Office highlighted its footprint across the province. The Eastern Cape had 6 District Municipalities, 37 Local Municipalities & 2 Metropolitan Councils and the Department had offices in 29 Local Municipalities & had 10 operational offices & 4 Ports of Entry in the two Metros. As part of its outreach programme, the PO held numerous stakeholder forums across the province to gauge public comment on DHA policies.

The PO had visited 538 out of a targeted 363 schools as part of its drive to get high school learners to apply for IDs. It had received 8 765 applications and had issued 3 303 IDs in the first quarter. The PO had issued a total of 53 349 IDs in the first quarter and 6 839 passports. The PO had received 2 254 applications for late registration of births and had received 110 duplicate ID cases as of June 2011. The PO had managed to secure space to setup at 8 health facilities across the province. In the first quarter, the PO had dealt with a total of 12 292 people entering and leaving the country. The PO had deported 3 220 people with Lindela Deportation post handling 144 of those deportations. The PO had received 1 062 new arrivals at its various ports of entry. The Provincial Office had had a total of 863 vacant posts at the start of the financial year and had thus far filled 714 (83%) with 149 unfilled.

Ms Thurlodene Johannes, Director for Finance and Support Eastern Cape: DHA briefed the Committee on the PO’s expenditure in the first quarter. The PO had been allocated R174 million for the 2011/12 financial year. It had spent R51 million (31%) in the first quarter and had generated R8 million in revenue. The PO’s asset register was updated by Ms Johannes and each region in the province had appointed an asset register controller to manage the asset register. The PO had 118 DHA vehicles under its purview with 90 vehicles being functional and 28 being non-functional. The PO had 17 mobile units with 7 functional. It had 337 pending corruption and fraud cases and 8 labour related cases pending in the first quarter.

Amongst its achievements the PO stated that its offices and mobile units had been capacitated and service delivery levels had improved. There had been a reduction in number of complaints and had ensured that learners writing matric were issued with IDs as required by the examination regulations. Amongst the remaining challenges, the PO stated that the non functionality of mobile units and offices which resulted in certificates not being issued on the spot remained a challenge. Duplicate cases were taking too long to resolve and there needed to be more interaction at the stakeholder forums to increase public participation in the work of the Department.

Western Cape Provincial Office Briefing
Mr Yusuf Simons, Provincial Manager for the Western Cape: DHA briefed the Committee on the Provincial Office’s (PO) progress in the first quarter of the 2011/12 financial year.
The Provincial Office highlighted its footprint across the province and its footprint at hospitals across the province. The PO was connected in 15 hospitals across the province with a view to registering late births. The PO had refurbished 14 out of 22 offices to conform to the DHA corporate model. The PO had 88 vehicles across the province and faced the challenge of having some damaged vehicles cleared for repairs. The PO had undertaken numerous stakeholder forums in various areas in the province as part of its goal to reach out to communities and increase public participation. The PO used various means to communicate with remote communities including radio broadcasts, civil organisations, pamphlets, posters and information broachers. The PO had visited 58 out of a targeted 64 schools in the first quarter. It had received 2 321 applications for IDs at those schools and had issued 145.

The Provincial Office had taken in 16 610 applications for passports and 41 783 ID applications in total in the first quarter. The PO had received 713 applications for the late registration of births. The PO had also installed an electronic queue management system in some of its offices across the province with a view to installing them at all of its offices. The electronic queue management system was professional and ensured that DHA clientele were dealt with in an orderly and timeous manner. The PO had issued 5 501 permits to people seeking to enter the country in the first quarter. As part of the Zimbabwean dispensation, the PO had received 17 747 applications for permits and had endorsed 6 913 permits. The PO’s inspectorate unit had overseen the deportation of 178 people, successfully prosecuted one employee and persecuted 87 people. The PO highlighted that it had received 4 866 vessels at the Cape Town harbour.

Ms Almien van der Berg, Acting Director of Finance and Support Western Cape: DHA briefed the Committee on the PO’s expenditure in the first quarter. The PO had been allocated R141 million for the 2011/12 financial year and had generated R35 million in revenue in the first quarter. It had spent R37 million. The PO carried out a monthly asset register check and consolidated its financial books for parity.

The PO endeavoured to monitor and evaluate staff, improve queue management, focus resources on hospitals and high schools. It further promised to form partnerships with provincial departments and have telephone surveys in an attempt to improve response times.

Discussion
Adv A Gaum (ANC) asked whether the KZN PO had a timeline to sort out dysfunctional offices in the province. Secondly, he asked whether KZN had a plan to rectify its low standing on efficiency and effectiveness considering the large populace that it served. Finally, he asked how the provincial office intended to tackle the backlog in relation to refugees and asylum seekers and how long it took the PO to adjudicate such cases. 

Mr Matsaung replied that a timeline would be decided once office space had been secured for the non operating DHA offices in the province. The KZN PO would work hard to improve its turnaround times and efficiency across all DHA offices in the province that would include changes in the management levels across the province. The KZN PO had tried to capacitate offices with a specific view to dealing with asylum seeker and refugee cases but had been overwhelmed by the influx of such people. The adjudication of such cases had improved with cases being decided in 60 days or less depending on the details of a particular case.

Ms A Lovemore (DA) asked how DHA officials assisted indigent people with applying for their IDs. She asked about the willingness of PO marriage officers to conduct same-sex marriages. She asked how to deal with the backlog of people who needed to be vetted before taking up posts in the Department. There was a large number of people who had had their late registration of birth rejected, what happened to such people? There were a large number of dysfunctional mobile units in the Eastern Cape, how did the PO inform people of when the mobile units would be in their area and how did they cater to disabled and aged people? The phones in the Port Elizabeth DHA offices were now functioning after three months of not working, she congratulated the PO.  

Mr Matsaung replied that the KZNs PO officers were all prepared to conduct same sex marriages and civil unions without prejudice. Vetting was very intensive and exhaustive but often took place after the appointment of an individual to fill a position. Vetting was outside the control of the DHA as it was handled by the State Security. There were people who sought to abuse the LRB system to claim citizenship when they were foreign nationals. Cases were dealt with on individual basis and on merit, where a case was clearly suspicious and there were grounds for it, LRB was denied. The people who had LRB cases denied were either dealt with in a court or were deported depending on the particulars of a case.

Ms Lusu replied that all Eastern Cape PO officers were prepared to conduct civil unions regardless of who was involved in that union. Vetting was outside the control of the DHA and was handled by State Security. The Eastern Cape PO was in the process of repairing it’s out of service mobile units and informed people of the imminent arrival of a unit via radio stations, stakeholder forums, faith based and civil organisations.


Ms S Rwexana (COPE) asked whether the Nyanga office in the Western Cape had been closed down. She asked whether there were plans in place to upgrade the Maitland office in the province as the conditions at that office were appalling. She asked what role the DHA played in the prosecution of people running illegal businesses in the country. She asked why the stakeholder forum in the Eastern Cape was chaired by a mayor. She asked how often the KZN reconciled its financial books in light of its large sums of revenue.

Mr Simons responded that the Nyanga offices were still operational and functioning. The Maitland office was being leased on a month to month basis and could therefore not have improvements done on it. The Department had also faced court action from businesses in the Maitland area demanding that it vacate the area and move elsewhere due to the nuisance factor of the clientele that visited the offices. The Department was also in the process of reviewing the location of its refugee reception offices with a view to moving them to areas closer to ports of entry. The DHA was a security portfolio and assisted in the prosecution of people who operated illegally in the country. It handed over all known suspects involved in such activities to the SAPS or other relevant authority.

Ms Lusu responded that the stakeholder forum in the Eastern Cape chaired by a mayor was being chaired on an interim basis by that mayor and in the coming months the forum would undergo change as the mayor had chaired it as an interim measure.

Mr Singh replied that the KZN PO reconciled its books on a monthly basis and there was a list of offices which were yet to reconcile their books in the province.

Ms N Mnisi (ANC) asked why the KZN PO had overspent on goods and services in the first quarter. She asked why the province had two ports of entry manned by the SAPS. She asked what the KZN and the Eastern Cape had done to repair mobile units.

Mr Singh replied that the KZN PO had spent a large amount on goods and services due to projects and outstanding commitments in the first quarter, the overall expenditure on goods and services would come down as money was owed to the PO from head office.

Mr Matsaung replied that they were repairing the mobile units which were out of service and would get them back on the roads as soon as it was possible.

Ms Lusu reiterated the previous speaker’s response on mobile units.

Ms T Gasebonwe (ANC) asked what reasons could be provided for the rejection of the late registration of births in the KZN.

Mr Matsaung replied that there were people who sought to abuse the LRB system to claim citizenship when they were foreign nationals. Cases were dealt with on individual basis and on merit, where a case was clearly suspicious and there were grounds for it, LRB was denied. The people who had LRB cases denied were either dealt with in a court or were deported depending on the particulars of a case.

Ms P Maduna-Petersen (ANC) asked what was done to DHA vehicles which had been involved in accidents in the KZN. She commented that the Eastern Cape PO had to more to provide assistance to disabled people in the province who approached the PO.

Mr Matsaung replied that DHA vehicles involved in accidents in the province were sent for repairs and sent back into service as soon as they became functional.

Ms Lusu took note of the comment and promised that the PO would work to improve in that area.

Mr M Mnqasela (DA) expressed concern over the slow pace in filling vacancies in the Eastern Cape and KZN. He sought clarity on the Western Cape’s plans to manage foreign yachts that arrived at ports of entry in the province as it appeared there was no clear policy. He asked how the Eastern Cape PO planned to deal with undocumented foreign nationals who sought to receive benefits from the states which citizens were entitled to. 

Mr Matsaung replied that vetting was one of the reasons it took a prolonged period to fill vacancies but the KZN PO was working to fill funded posts as quickly as was possible.

Ms Lusu responded that the Eastern Cape was in the process of holding stakeholder forums which would propose plans to prevent the abuse of resources by undocumented people. There were ongoing plans to stop undocumented foreign nationals from receiving services and benefaction from services which were delineated for citizens.

Mr Simons responded that there were control mechanisms in place to monitor yachts visiting the country and the people that disembarked and stayed on in the country after the yachts departed. The people who chose to stay on in the country had visitor’s visas and were therefore legally obliged to be in the country. 


The Chairperson asked why the SAPS were managing two ports of entry. She commented that it was totally unacceptable to have mobile units which were dysfunctional. She asked why there wasn’t a DHA office in Knysna in the Western Cape.  

Mr Simons responded that there was an agreement in place to have an office in Knysna but that had yet to be implemented. There was a DHA official at Knysna Hospital and an office in Plettenberg Bay which was 40 km away from Knysna. Thos would be the stand in measures until a full time office was built in Knysna. 

Ms S Bothman (ANC) commented that there was a lack of mention of coordination with other government departments in the presentations made by the PO’s. She asked what mechanisms were in place in the Eastern Cape to assist people in municipalities which lacked access to DHA offices. She asked how all the provinces went about informing the citizenry of mobile units and when they would be in a particular region of the country. She asked why there was a low collection rate of IDs at schools. She commented that there seemed to be no control measures in place to deal with yachts arriving at ports in the Western Cape and sought clarity on the issue. She recommended that the provinces look at improving stakeholder forums and increase participation in them. There needed to be a finalisation of office spaces for key areas without DHA offices. The respective PO’s needed to look at the issue of job creation with a focus on internships.  

Mr Matsaung replied that there was coordination between the DHA and other government departments despite it not being mentioned in the briefing. The DHA fell under the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster and as such worked with other departments in that cluster as well as the Department of Health.

Ms Lusu responded that the Eastern Cape PO had undertaken an initiative to have municipalities that lacked DHA offices serviced by mobile units and DHA vehicles. The PO also relied on radio stations to get its messages across to the general public.

Mr Simons responded that there were control mechanisms in place to monitor yachts visiting the country and the people that disembarked and stayed on in the country after the yachts departed. The people who chose to stay on in the country had visitor’s visas and were therefore legally obliged to be in the country. 


The meeting was adjourned.

 

Share this page: