The outcomes and objectives of the Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Home Affairs Annual Performance Plan were presented. The presentation outlined the progress in key areas from 2009 to 2012 and DHA’s new operating and organisational model whilst also touching on various equality issues within Human Resources. Lastly it looked at transformation within the Department. The work done in connecting the National Registry with hospitals for birth registrations was noted. The briefing touched on stakeholder forums as well as the strengthening of legislation.
Looking at its budget, the Department detailed what it had asked Treasury for additional funding. It looked at the Department’s allocation over the Mid Term Expenditure Framework period, the budget allocation for 2011/12 compared to 2012/13, its budget allocation for each programme, the budget allocation per province, Estimates of National Expenditure as well as challenges.
The discussion looked at the Zimbabwean documentation project and the Director General said it would not have another such project as the Zimbabweans who were in the country illegally had been given an opportunity to come forward. Those who came after would not be given a chance by another project. In terms of other nationals, the Minister had considered that and would use what had been learned from helping Zimbabweans. Also discussed was registration of babies in hospital as well as the need to register births and deaths in the rural areas. Members asked questions about disciplinary action the DHA had taken, capacity of local offices to handle the shift and decentralisation of power; would the banks need for fingerprints generate an income for DHA, the Nigerians turned back due to yellow fever certificates, DHA’s gender equality and disabled people quota for its staff; the budget for the ID Smart Card rollout; DHA’s unauthorised and wasteful expenditure; how the effectiveness of stakeholder forums was measured.
Annual Performance Plan Presentation
The Chairperson asked why the Annual Performance plan and not the Strategic Plan was being presented.
Mr Mkuseli Apleni, Director General of Home Affairs, explained that Treasury regulations now meant that the name was changed to the Annual Performance Plan.
Mr Apleni noted that the targets for the Strategic Plan were in the report but not in the presentation but he was willing to answer all questions relating to them. The presentation covered its vision, values and mandates, government priorities, Department of Home Affairs performance agreement, progress in key areas from 2009 to 2012. He also looked at transformation in the Department of Home Affairs, strategic objectives and outputs for each outcome, and the strategic focus going forward.
On slide 9 Mr Apleni added that it was important to register children within 30 days as this was the only entry into the national registry. This year had shown the Department was going to surpass the work done in previous years. The campaign to register people at an early age was working and was starting to show progress in right direction.
On slide 10 Mr Apleni said the strategy had been to connect the health facilities to the DHA as, once they were connected, good process could be achieved. The Department of Health was also increasing connectivity on their side.
On slide 11 Mr Apleni said that the number of offices opened was not high as the cost of opening offices was too much. Mr Apleni said that the Department had strengthened their processes at OR Tambo however there were still certain challenges being worked on as a Cluster to make sure that operations were coordinated.
Slide 17, Mr Apleni said this dealt with the touchy issue of contract workers. The Department had needed to professionalise positions but it had been hard to professionalise Level 3 positions. However at Level 6 the Department could attract people with certain skills for example junior degrees and diplomas.
Mr Apleni said the Department was trying to make sure that provinces had enough budget and power to operate well. The power that had been scheduled to be decentralised needed to be implemented. The priority of the 12 tier team was that those processes that were meant to be decentralised were implemented. Provinces needed to appoint people at a particular level. The model sought to let managers manage (see slide 18)
On slide 18, Mr Apleni said that the provincial head had been empowered to deal with everything within that province. These heads had provincial support which would grow in terms of areas such as HR and IT and counter corruption which would make that provincial head the Accounting Officer of that particular province. The DHA followed an operational model that appointed District Managers of Operations whose mandate was to make sure all the offices in the provinces were operational.
Mr Apleni said the Department wanted to grow but did not always have the funds they need to do that.
On slide 19, Mr Apleni said that what happened was the Department had been in its transformation process (the process of how it was moving from the old structure to the new one had not yet closed) and the decision had been taken that as the process was not over, then contract workers could be appointed. This was why in 2009/10 the number of contract workers went up. The absorption of these contract workers begun in 2010/11. There were now only 35 contract workers. They were advisors to the Ministry and also interns. These were contract workers of a different kind to the previous times. The decision had been taken by DHA to never again employ contract workers.
On slide 21 Mr Apleni said the Department was trying to move towards equity in terms of gender and the focus had been at management level.
On slide 21 Mr Apleni said there was a need to balance all races and the Department was lagging behind in terms of Indian and Coloured people. Each and every program manager needed to reach a target within in a unit.
On slide 24 Mr Apleni said employing enough people with disabilities was still a challenge and the Department had not reached its target. It had established a disability unit which participated in the management forum in order to reach or surpass the target.
On slide 28-29 on transformation of the Department, Mr Apleni said that being caring, professional and able to respond to the needs of the people had been the vision of the Department.
On slide 24 Mr Apleni said that in terms of goals and outcomes in 2009/10 what had been the norm was to have too many goals in an organisation which had not helped delivery. Thus the department had tried to narrow matters and be focused.
Mr Apleni said the strategic plan was grounded on three outcomes which had been maintained
Ms Rudanzi Rasikhinya, DHA Chief Financial Officer, presented on the Department’s Planning and Budgeting Process as well as noted the items for which it had requested additional funds. She spoke about the Department’s allocation over the Mid Term Expenditure Framework period, the budget allocation for 2011/12 compared to 2012/13, the budget allocation for each programme, the budget allocation per Province, estimates of National Expenditure as well as challenges (see document).
Mr M Mnqasela (DA) said that in light of what had been achieved by the Department as well as the plan they had had, the challenges were clear. He asked if the Department had addressed the front-line offices in all provinces.
Mr Apleni said that for its national offices, the Department had been talking about a phased-in approach as there was nothing that frustrated customers more than seeing empty offices. The goal of the Department had been to ensure all cubicles in each office were filled. The same was true of the mobile offices, when they went out they were going with people in counters. The intention was to get to capacity. Automation would help with that as it would reduce the number of people coming to the office. During 2012-14, they were targeting only provinces, then continue with the phasing in.
Stake Holder Forums in rural areas
Mr Mnqasela asked to what extent had the Department managed to establish stakeholder forums in the rural areas.
Zimbabwean documentation project
Mr Mnqasela asked about the Zimbabwean documentation project outlined in slide 14. He asked if the Department would have another undertaking to attend to the citizens outside of the 275 000? He argued if this problem was left to sort itself, then the original process would have been of no use. Also was there a plan to do the same for other nationalities such as people from Bangaldesh or Somali?
Ms P Maduna (ANC) also sought clarity on what would happen with remaining Zimbabweans.
Mr Apleni said that there would be no other documentation project as all the Zimbabweans who were in country illegally had been given an opportunity to come forward. Those who came after would not be given a chance by another project. In terms of other nationals, the Minister had considered that and would use what had been learned from helping Zimbabweans.
Local levels and capacity
Mr Mnqasela asked if the offices being referred to were the offices at the very local level and argued that it was optimistic to give them increasing power as they often lacked capacity.
Mr Vusi Mkizhe, Deputy Director General Civil Services, said there was a deliberate effort to bring leadership to the local offices. Even though people had been working there, there had been a need for leadership and direction. There were plans to reprioritise so that the front offices gained further capacity. The presence of full time staff as well as mobile staff would go towards alleviating the problem of capacity.
Mr Mnqasela said there had been continual mention of corrupt DHA officials but few prosecutions within the judicial system. He argued that these people were criminals and should be dealt with as such.
Mr Apleni said that the courts did not always appreciate the problems the Department was faced with. He argued that people were able to use the judicial system to come back into the Department by fighting their disciplinary action. In terms of prosecution, government needed to work on this since the result on the criminal side was still a challenge. The question was why, through the judicial system, disciplined employees could get back into the Department.
Mr G Macintosh (COPE) asked what the procedure was if a baby died within two or three months or a few years if there a death certificate? He also asked if the staff were full time staff who handled the registrations or was it nurses and hospital admin staff who did it?
Mr Apleni replied that there were full time staff within hospitals. This information should have been included in the slides.
Mr M De Frietas (DA) commented that there were a large number of hospitals connected and this seemed good.
Mr Mkizhe said in terms of hospital connectivity one could see DHA’s projection in the presentation on connecting with hospitals. The goal was to have all of the hospitals connected and also have staff there. There had begun to be a structure that talked directly to hospitals and this year alone there would be 65 full time staff employed at Level 5. In terms of how far they were with the hospitals, the Department was hoping to increase this by the end of the financial year. The hope was over the next three years to cover all key hospitals - that was part of the strategic objectives.
Finger printing and banks
Mr Macintosh asked if fingerprinting and the linking of this information to banks was going to be a source of income and would it go into DHA’s trading account. He asked if there was an estimate of what kind of income would be generated.
Mr Mkizhe replied that in terms of money to be made, there had be analysis of how much each transaction would cost and this had been approved by National Treasury. The endeavour would generate revenue for the department. The bank had given the Department the volumetric in terms of the transactions. The bank had given an analysis of projected volumes which would need to be qualified in order to determine revenue.
Nigerian Nationals and OR Tambo
Mr Macintosh asked for clarity on the arrival of Cubans and the clean out of immigration officers at OR Tambo. He also asked for clarity on the incident where 125 Nigerians were turned away at the airport because their Yellow Fever Vaccination Cards were suspected to be fake.
Ms S Rwexana (COPE) also sought clarification on the Nigerian nationals.
Mr Apleni said he had been in a meeting with the Cabinet Ministers as they had wanted to look at this matter and see what the issues were. The problem identified was who must lead when monitoring who is coming in and out of the country. There needed to always be someone responsible for people exiting and entering the country. This had been a matter of public health since there were certain countries to which one could not enter without a yellow fever vaccination certificates. There was a universal understanding that those traveling to those countries must produce yellow fever certificates. When traveling, the passengers were the responsibility of the airline when they boarded the plan and during the flight. The airline thus had to ensure that all passengers on board had the requisite medical certificates. When they landed, the passengers’ yellow fever certificates were then checked by OR Tambo Immigration Officers. In the case of the 125 Nigerians, the certificates were found not be proper in terms of health regulations. The matter was still being investigated. The role of the Department was if the certificates were problematic, they needed to facilitate the exit of the persons. Cabinet was working on the matter and soon they would announce the process going forward.
Principles of Training Camp
Mr Macintosh asked what principles were applied in the training camp.
Mr Apleni said the principles were there were certain things that needed to be checked and involved the principles of security and customer service.
Ms Maduna said it was disappointing that disability had not been taken seriously by the department. She asked why this was the case. Had provision been made for disabled people in the cadet programme?
Mr Apleni said the cadet programme, when it was initiated, would do its best to target disabled people.
Ms Avril Williamson, Deputy Director General: Human Resources, said on the issue of disability that she wanted to assure the Committee that they were taking this matter very seriously. The department has looked at increasing the target. There had been engagement to access databases in order to source candidates properly. There had also been a struggle to keep disabled people once hired, which sometimes lowered the numbers working within the Department.
Ms Maduna referred to the Lebombo border post structure which was not being utilised. She asked what had happened to it and what the plans for it were.
The Chairperson noted the unused structure at Lebombo and said it seemed that the building was not conducive due to all the work that needed to be done within it. The reasons that this building could not be used needed to be deciphered as it had cost R65 million. It seemed like a misunderstanding between the Departments of Public Works and Home Affairs
Mr Apleni answered that Lebombo was built to be a ‘one stop border post’. There had been an agreement in front of Parliament for a one stop border post agreement between South Africa and Mozambique. Unfortunately only Mozambique had signed it. South Africa had yet to sign it as the South African Police had an issue with the agreement.
Ms Maduna said that there had been no explanation on how the Department was to reach the 50/50 gender parity. It was worrying that there seemed to be only two women in management at the meeting.
Mr Apleni said the Department agreed with 50/50 gender parity, and this was a matter they were trying to deal with. They were trying to attain employee equality at the management level. It was the practice of this that had proved difficult.
Ms Williamson said, in terms of gender equality, that the Department sought to review the constitution of the panels as the department wanted to ensure more females were brought into the panel. Some of the Department’s change programmes also spoke to equity. On the ground, the Department had held back on appointing some of the positions. There was a plan to go head hunting as the Department had not found the calibre of female candidates that they would like. There were some female candidates coming into the provincial management level. There had even been some submissions turned back where they had been non-female requests.
ID Smartcard budget
Ms G Bothman (ANC) asked why the ID smart cards with a pilot population of 2000 had no budget .
Mr Apleni said that there was no budget for the Smart Card rollout as it was a small pilot of only 2000 cards. The money was available within Department of Public Works.
Depreciation of Assets
Ms Bothman asked why there was no allocation for depreciation of assets in the budget.
Ms Rasikhinya replied that in terms of accrual accounting, one had provision for asset depreciation but this was not the type of accounting that had been done. The assets did not depreciate. Writing off of assets was not seen in the budget as there was no budget for that.
Ms G Bothman asked why the training program was only being funded from the Department’s budget and did not include Skills Development levies. Was there a relationship between the Department and Department of Higher Education in terms of training?
Ms Williamson replied that the Department understood that this should be included in the budget for training. The budget was sitting at R23 million but R17 million budgeted. The difference was being used on the various costs of the training. There had also been interaction with the Department of Higher Education and the Department also sat on the Human Development Council.
IT roll out
Ms Bothman noted that previous presentations on IT Rollout had not stated how it would happen .
Educating the population
Ms Bothman commented that the Committee had spoken about educating people out there on what they were doing but there was nothing in the budget about that.
Ms Bothman asked when the Department looked at the number of offices and services offered, did they take into account the vastness of the province.
Ms Rasikhinya replied that the 2009/10 budgets for the provinces were provided after the department went through a budget model in which the provinces were given a budget appropriate to their operating expenses. This had taken into consideration the geographical spread of these provinces but this may not have been done properly and this was why these provinces had had a shortfall.
Ms Bothman said she was worried about the unauthorised expenditure and asked what the policy was for tackling this problem.
Ms Rasikhinya replied in terms of wasteful expenditure that there had been a settlement. Where there was a settlement there would always be a loss. The R321 million amounted to the amount that had been paid out. There had been a previous presentation to the Committee that there had been a loss.
Ms Rasikhinya said the policies to ensure there was no unauthorised expenditure was maintained by supply chain management that dealt specifically with what needed to happen before goods and services were procured. This allowed for the Department to monitor what was happening with funds as a process needed to be followed. The processes had been there, even though it seemed they were not working. There was perhaps a need to strengthen the monitoring part of these processes. Unauthorised expenditure came as a result of the budget being overspent. The Department had constructed a proper budget so that when money was spent, they spent against a properly constructed budget.
Ms Bothman asked for clarity on building maintenance which seemed to be divided into various categories.
Ms Rasikhinya replied that in the past, rent was inclusive of modifications to the building, and there was also day to day maintenance. There was a fund for maintenance done on a daily basis, maintenance which was considered ‘small maintenance’. Although there was the issue of the Department of Public Works playing a role in maintenance, day to day maintenance was done by DHA. The budget for this type of maintenance was allocated to the Department but they still had to go to Public Works to procure that.
Ms Bothman requested that rural Home Affairs officers should be introduced to the traditional leaders in the area as due to nature of the country, land was in the hand of chiefs. One needed to go to the ground in order to see what exactly the need was of those local communities.
Mr Apleni replied that there were traditional centres in the rural areas and halls in the areas that could possibly be used by DHA and the DHA was trying to see if they could use those halls. There was a push to reach out to the rural areas. He was aware of this need and there were proposals on the table.
Mr Apleni said there was a need to run programmes for raising awareness. For example, there was a need for traditional leaders, and the like, to know it is the law to register deaths.
Mr Mkizhe said that some mobile offices had not been able to reach certain areas and the Department was now dealing with 4x4s in order to reach where the mobile trucks could not go. This would ensure that births were registered within 30 days.
Registration of Births
Mr De Frietas asked why it was so important to register births within the early period of 30 days after birth.
Mr Apleni replied that children were encouraged to be registered quickly because the birth certificate allowed child to have ID when 16. One was only registered on the National Population Register based on that initial registration. The major issue was for the planning of the state. For example how would the state know that an area would need something like a university? Planning of this magnitude could only be done by accessing the National Population Register.
Mr De Frietas asked why there were more mobile units than there were staff.
Mr Apleni said the numbers of employees given were additional employees so each mobile truck had a driver. The numbers being seen were for extra employees.
Effectiveness of Stake Holder Forums
Mr De Frietas asked how stakeholder forum effectiveness was measured.
Mr Apleni replied that the effectiveness of stakeholder forums was measured through service delivery. If people had been issued such things as birth certificates or no one was in need of a grant than effectiveness was good. It was measured in terms of services delivered to the people.
Mr Vusi Mkizhe, Deputy Director General: Civil Services, said that in terms of the forums one could only have made an impact if one knew the objectives of the forum. There had been various objectives which had included improving service delivery. There had also been a need for powerful stakeholder forums in the rural areas. The collaboration with the stakeholder forums, telling where the Department was not present, had allowed the department to deal with issues such as unidentified people. The department could identify that there had been an improvement in getting various messages out to the communities as well as reaching out to them
Centralisation of Visas
Mr De Frietas asked if centralising visa applications had made the process more effective and when had this happened.
Mr Apleni replied that in the past there had not been any record of who had applied for a permit. However a system had now been put in place where when you applied for a permit, you would be sent an sms and you would be able to track the application.
Examples of Disciplinary Action
Mr De Frietas asked for examples of cases that needed disciplinary action. He asked if there had been studies done in order to quell the problem.
Ms Williamson replied that in terms of disciplinary matter, these were the higher level categories. This included financial misconduct such as theft of funds and state money. There had also been fraud and corruption cases, aiding and abetting, unlawful endorsements of passports, irregular issuing of naturalisation documentation and improper conduct. Improper conduct comprised of such acts as improper service delivery and customer complaints amongst others. There had also been issues of poor performance and sexual harassment. Some measures had been preventative rather than dealing with something that had already arisen.
Mr De Frietas asked how one measured patriotism.
The Director General replied it was those who were willing to do anything to help customers, no matter what the issue.
The meeting was adjourned.
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