Provincial Home Affairs Performance Reports, 1st quarter 2012: Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga

Home Affairs

30 July 2012
Chairperson: Ms M Maunye ANC
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Meeting Summary

The Provincial Department of Home Affairs offices in Limpopo, Gauteng and Mpumlanga gave reports on their activities in the first quarter of 2012. They presented the geographic and demographic background, the municipalities covered, and indicated where offices had been set up in hospitals. Each of the offices also provided staff and gender profiles, and indicated their vacancy levels. They also presented details of spending, showing annual and quarterly targets and comparisons. Both Limpopo and Mpumalanga showed overspending on transfers and subsidy payments in the first quarter, but all provinces showed under-spending overall, at around 18% to 19%. They also detailed the revenue, asset figures, fleet numbers and conditions of vehicles, including the mobile offices. In Limpopo, 13 out of the 16 mobile offices were dysfunctional, five out of ten trucks were being used in Gauteng, and six out of eleven in Mpumalanga. Only 35% of mobile offices were functioning nationally. In all provinces, some offices still needed to relocate, and inadequate staff accommodation was cited as a challenge, with delays from the side of the Department of Public Works in getting new premises or updating and rectifying leases. Statistics were also given for labour relations disputes and fraud and corruption cases. In Limpopo there had been two dismissals after appeals and six disciplinary sanctions, in Gauteng three staff were dismissed and two cases prosecuted, and in Mpumalanga three staff were dismissed and thirteen suspended. Figures were provided for birth registrations, schools visited for the purposes of providing students with ID documents, ID new and re-applications and turnaround times. Statistics were also given for applications and issuance of passports, permanent and temporary residence permits, and documentation of foreigners, as well as deportation figures and asylum seeker permits.

Each of the provinces detailed their achievements and challenges. In Limpopo, achievements included a full database for learners, acquisition of land for new offices, and establishment of a special project team and a trend analysis team at the provincial office. In Gauteng, achievements included additional stakeholder forums and issuance of IDs to all matric candidates. In Mpumalanga the building of new offices was highlighted, as well as implementation of electronic queue management systems in two offices. Challenges in Limpopo included a severe shortage of branded Immigration Management Service (IMS) vehicles and office space, shortage of transport, and shortage of IMS staff at ports of entry and offices. Gauteng highlighted training difficulties and Mpumalanga mentioned lack of accommodation, late birth registrations, high numbers of illegal immigrants and theft of copper that put computers offline.

Members asked all provinces what plans they had put in place to cope with the likely increase of asylum seekers, in view of closure of some Refugee Reception Offices in other parts of the country. They enquired about attempts to increase the numbers of disabled employees and fill vacant posts. They also asked about plans for the mobile offices, noting their concern that service delivery must be suffering as a result of down-time in these vehicles, asked how the drivers were deployed at present, and the real reasons for lack of proper maintenance on fleets. Overall, they urged that proper documentation of all foreign nationals must be pursued as a priority, and called for full reports on undocumented persons in each province. They were concerned that Limpopo had provided insufficient detail as to how exactly its challenges would be addressed, asked about secondment of a Limpopo official to KwaZulu Natal and urged that the high number of duplicate IDs must be resolved. They asked the Gauteng officials if they were aware of instances of human trafficking, wanted further details of the backlogs in duplicate IDs, said that absenteeism from the workplace of several provincial offices must be addressed with vigour, and asked about theft of computers that posed potential security risks. They asked Mpumlanga to detail how the problem of undocumented individuals and porous borders would be addressed.


Meeting report

Provincial Departments of Home Affairs: First quarter 2012 reports
Limpopo Provincial Department
Ms Nthoriseng Motsitsi, Provincial Manager, Limpopo Provincial Department of Home Affairs, tabled a geographic and demographic background to Limpopo Province. All Department of Home Affairs (DHA) offices in the province were aligned to the five district municipalities of Capricorn, Mopani, Sekhukhuni, Waterberg, and Vhembe, which were further broken down into 25 local municipalities. Currently, there were a number of municipal managerial positions vacant. A breakdown of the hospitals in each municipality was also given (see slide 8 of presentation).

She noted that the DHA footprint in the province was very comprehensive, with all municipalities excluding Aganang, having at least one office. The setting up of an office in Aganang was a priority project for 2013/14. A district-by-district breakdown of hospitals was given and it was emphasised that in two hospitals in particular - Jane Furse and Dr CN Phatudi - a DHA staffer with an office and a budget had been set up, in the first quarter of 2012/13.

A staff profile, with gender indications, was given, showing total staff of 808, divided into 416 females and 380 males. There was a vacancy rate in the provincial staff of 21%, or 217 funded but unfilled posts.

Mr Thifhelimbilu Matshaya, Director: Finance, Limpopo Provincial Department, gave a detailed spending summary, as outlined on slides 19 to 23 of the attached presentation. He particularly drew attention to the over spending on transfers and subsidy payments, of 152.9%. The reason for this was the decentralisation of payments at the provincial level, but he explained that it was expected to stabilise. Overall provincial spending was based on linear projections. Although the projection was that each quarter should show 25% spending, the spending in the first quarter overall was only 18.3%, or R10 800 588. A comprehensive numerical breakdown of month to month revenue collected across district municipalities between April and June 2012 was outlined on slides 24 to 26. This was followed by a breakdown of asset management numbers and fleet management statistics, which highlighted 86 vehicles; 6 new, 55 functional, 20 not in good condition, 5 involved in accidents, and 16 mobile offices, of which 3 were functional and 13 dysfunctional.

Mr Matshaya said that eleven offices across a number of different local municipalities were facing relocation and the Polokwane office was seeking to expand (see slide 29). Office lease details were given, which included rental fees, a description of the premises, and the start and end dates of the lease agreements. Many offices’ lease agreements had already expired and speedy resolution was needed. Tenders had been advertised but no offers were forthcoming at present.

Statistics on Labour Relations cases were provided. There were 29 fraud and corruption cases, with 10 cases finalised and 19 outstanding. In two cases, staff found guilty of improper conduct had been dismissed, after appeal. Sanctions had been levelled against six other persons, resulting in dismissal.

Ms Motsitsi noted the annual target of registering 58 437 births, and the comparison of the first quarter target of 14 159 against actual registrations of 16 507. Statistics on schools visited and applications, textbooks, and ID applications were detailed in slide 33. This was followed by a statement that 8 191 passport applications were made in the province. Stakeholder management numbers were set out in slides 39-40. The numbers of permanent residence and temporary residence permits issued were given as 87 applications, of which 6 were approved; 982 temporary applications, with 707 approved and 141 refused. There had been 1 396 deportations in the province. The total of asylum seeker permit extensions received and completed was 10 311.

Staff development across four separate training sessions was offered to 19 people, of whom all were black and 10 were female.

Dates for the submission and finalisation of the provincial business plan were given on slide 46.

Ms Motsitsi outlined the achievements on slide 48. These included the creation of a database for all learners, with or without enabling documents for ID books, from grades 10-12. The LOGIS system had been decentralised, as well as procurement, sundry payments, petty cash, government vehicles and accommodation. Land was secured to build Home Affairs Offices at Bochum and Modimolle. A youth forum had been established. The complaints database had become fully operational. A special project team and a trend analysis team were founded at the provincial office. The Counter Corruption Alliance relationships with South African Police Services (SAPS), Counter Intelligence, Organised Crime and the State Security Agency were strengthened.

Challenges were set out in slides 49 and 50. These included a severe shortage of branded Immigration Management Service (IMS) vehicles for the inspectorate involving detection, arrest and deportation, and a shortage of transportation for offices in the Thusong Centres and other offices formerly known as permanent service points. There was also shortage of IMS staff at ports of entry and offices, and there was profound difficulty in acquiring rental space for new offices.

Discussion
Ms P Petersen-Maduna (ANC) wished to know what plans had been put in place to deal with the likely increase of asylum seekers in the province, especially given the expiration of leases at Refugee Reception Offices in other parts of the country.

Ms Motsisi responded that the province was looking into opening a new Refugee Office closer to the border, to better handle the scheduled influx of asylum seekers after the closure of reception offices in other provinces.

Ms Petersen-Maduna said that no details had been given of attempts to hire disabled individuals.

Ms Motsitsi responded that it was difficult to find appropriate individuals who were capable of performing certain roles, and it was necessary to ensure that the skills were available, rather than merely attempting to fill quotas.

Mr M Mnqasela (DA) asked what was being done to fill vacant posts in the province.

Ms Motsisi noted that head office in Pretoria was responsible for advertising for posts, although funding was held by the province, which resulted in a delay in finalising filling of vacancies. Priority had been given to hiring support staff in the provincial office and refugee officers at ports of entry.

Mr Mnqasela noted the figures for fleet management and asked for more detail about the 20 vehicles which were listed as not being in good condition, enquiring if they were currently being used. In regard to the mobile offices, he emphasised that Limpopo was a predominately rural province yet 81% of its mobile offices were dysfunctional. He asked how this happened, and what was being done to resolve this serious issue that services were not being provided.

Mr G McIntosh (COPE) noted the report was good but depressing in content. He noted that the rental being paid per square metre at DHA offices was not noted. A driver was listed for all of the non-functioning vehicles, and he wished to know what those drivers were doing each day. He thought that there was no reason why the fleet for example could not be better maintained, pointing out that this was neither a political nor budgetary issue.

In regards to mobile offices she said that the terrain in rural areas affected connectivity and severely restricted the usefulness of the unit. As a point of clarification it was stated that the vehicles themselves were functional but it was an issue of connectivity for the remote data connection that was the problem. Ms Motsisi said that the drivers were tasked with driving out to rural areas and collecting paper applications, instead of being able to issue paper work on the spot via a data uplink. This had delayed the ability of DHA to offer efficient service provision to residents in rural Limpopo.

Mr Mpho Moloi, Acting Provincial Manager for Gauteng, explained that in his other capacity as Chief Director of General Management, he was responsible for the national implementation of mobile services. He said that DHA was prioritising the footprint development in hospitals. Mobile offices came online in 2003. Some of the DHA officials had agitated for decentralisation of the mobile programme with delegation to the provinces, as local people were better equipped to understand and adapt mobile services to specific regional environments that required individualised technological strategies. Decentralisation would prevent a one-size-fits-all approach.

Ms G Bothman (ANC) said that the Strategic Plan gave no indication of how the Province was planning to resolve its problems and move forward. She had a problem in understanding what was really happening on the ground in the province. The report was being overly technical and not descriptive. She wanted to know example of how money cited as being spent on something was actually used and allocated, and far more details were required.

Ms Motsisi said there had been no increase in the provincial budget over the past financial year and this had directly influenced the ability of the province to deal with all the problems, including filling vacancies and improving office facilities. She emphasised the dilapidated condition of DHA facilities in local municipalities and a dire need to improve these conditions, but said that the budgetary constraints impacted upon the ability to do so, and it would take time. A budget of R97 per square meter was available to the DHA in the province for the relocation of the 11 offices that needed to move.

The Chairperson asked for clarification on the deployment of one of the provincial coordinators to KwaZulu Natal (KZN), and asked whether there was funding for further appointments.

Ms Motsisi responded that the provincial manager seconded to KZN was still being paid in Limpopo, and a new person could not be hired in Limpopo because that seconded person was still on the books.

The Chairperson asked what best practices would be for hiring staff such as office cleaners.

Ms Motsitsi said that over 5 000 applications had been received for the post of cleaner. However, there was some sensitivity; there were many confidential documents in the offices and this meant DHA preferred to hire someone known to DHA officials rather than outsourcing work to an outside company.

Ms N Gasebonwe (ANC) asked for the reasons why a mobile office driver had been suspended last year.

Ms Motsisi responded that he was suspended after using a DHA vehicle for his own personal agenda, and photos of this misuse were given to the Department. The case against him was ongoing.

Mr Mnqasela asked what the solution was to providing better service, and how the dysfunctional operation of the mobile offices would be resolved. He suggested that unequal service provision could be interpreted as the Department putting the interests of wealthier provinces above those of the poor provinces, and urged urgent action.

Mr Mnqasela asked what the solution was to a lack of holding cells for illegal foreigners as this was sure to incur litigation if it was not quickly resolved.

Ms H Makhuba (IFP) wished to know the reason for the high number of duplicate IDs and how this could be handled.

Ms Motsisi replied that Permanent Residence permits were issued centrally in Pretoria. These differed from the temporary permits issued at the border or port of entry in Limpopo. There was evidence that some people held more than one ID, but there had been delays in implementation of a programme to eliminate this problem.

Gauteng Provincial Department
Mr Mpho Moloi, Acting Provincial Manager, Gauteng Provincial Department of Home Affairs, began by elucidating the vision and mission of DHA as building a safe and secure South Africa where all of its people were proud of and valued their identity and citizenship.

Slide 4 of his presentation outlined the provincial demographics and a population breakdown, based on 2007 data, by race, region, language, migration stream and type of dwelling. It was noted that Gauteng held 22.39% of South Africa’s total population, and that this figure had grown at an estimated 22% since the last census in 2001. Gauteng was also the highest contributor to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), at 33.7%. Despite this fact, high poverty levels existed still in informal settlements and unemployment stood at 26%, which was the fifth highest figure in the country.

The DHA provincial footprint was broken down over three metropolitan areas and two municipalities, being Johannesburg Metro, Sedibeng District, West Rand, Tshwane Metro and Ekurhuleni Metro, with a total of 65 offices across the province (see slides 7 to 9).

The capacity levels for Human Resources Management at various provincial districts, metros, hospitals, and mobile offices were provided, on slides 11 to 20. There were, in total, 1 647 positions, of which 1 467 were filled as at 1 April 2012 and 180 were funded, but vacant. All 180 positions were in various stages of the recruitment process. There were 882 (61.5%) female employees and 550 (38.5%) males, and 9 disabled persons.

Financial Management details including a budget summary, revenue collections statistics and property and asset management numbers were provided in slides 22 to 32. The total budget allocation for the province was R352.128 million, and expenditure by 30 June was R70.012 million, or 19.9% of the annual budget. However, this did not include all salary and compensation of workers, so it was not a complete representation of monies spent and the actual spending was closer to the expected 25%. Total revenue collected was R76.706 million between April and June 2012. Gauteng had a total of 28 leases, of which 17 were on a month-to-month basis and 13 buildings were owned by the province. Five offices which should have been refurbished to conform to the DHA Corporate Model in the previous financial year were only signed off on in the first quarter 2012. They were in Ennerdale, Eldorado Park, Devon, Duduza, and Ekangala. The total asset figures were given, and this was confirmed through a quarterly asset verification process done by inspection teams.

191 vehicles were owned by the province. 33 were in good condition, 112 in fair condition and 46 in poor condition, whilst 5 needed to be replaced and one was at a panel beaters for repairs. Ten mobile offices existed in the Gauteng and although all were in driveable condition, only five were functioning. Three were failing to connect, although satellite dishes were in place, two required computers, and one needed a link star to connect to the data uplink. Only 35% of mobile offices were functioning nationally.

It was noted that in the Counter Corruption and Security Services unit, 42 cases had been received, 8 were under investigation, 34 were finalised, 14 were referred for  labour relations negotiation, three were dismissed and two resulted in criminal charges being laid.

Under the area of inter-governmental relations and stakeholders management, meetings were held in each municipality detailed in the slides.

A description of ongoing projects was listed. The worst-performing offices in the province were Germiston, Centurion and Soshanguve, but the problems were identified and the steps to resolve them were indicated. In Germiston, among other issues, there was a lack of quality assurance on reports and statistics, unauthorised people were found in restricted areas, fleet management was poor, there was a lack of compliance with leave policy, poor security of documents, and no floorwalker. Measures to solve these problems included the introduction of time cards, supervisors to walk the floor during peak hours, a time-off register, and an internal memo to address unauthorised clients in restricted areas. In the Refugee Centre it was discovered the filing system was not conducive to an efficient and effective flow of information. Information on duplicate IDs was also provided, with 578 total applications made as of June 30.

There were 57 328 total births in the province from April to June, well above the targeted numbers. 18 470 were registered in hospitals where DHA staff were on site.  425 schools were visited in the first quarter, with roughly 6000 applications taken in, and 9 400 ID documents were issued to matriculants. 49 893 passports were issued over the same period.

The number of illegal foreigners detected over the first quarter was 4 331, of whom 3 642 were detained and 375 released. 67 780 asylum seeker permits were extended, and new arrivals from month to month accounted for 5 539 in April, 12 099 in May and 9 222 in June.

Challenges and achievements were set out in slides 69 to 86, showing the targets, annual targets, baseline and quarter 1 targets. The specific challenges to registering births were noted as the lack of availability at health care facilities of birth notifications, so that mothers were made to wait for some time prior to registration. Other health care challenges were related to the lack of IT equipment at four separate hospitals, due to the auditing process, and this process would be rolled over into the second quarter. A new DHA office proposed for Fochville was not yet online, because of the lack of available sites in the area, and the slowness of Department of Public Works in acquiring new sites. The specific challenges around issuing IDs to school learners of 16 years and older were worsened by uncooperative schools and winter holidays in June, which prevented more school visitations. Problems in issuing temporary residence permits resulted from system downtimes and permits not being dispatched on the Track and Trace system. 849 transgressors of DHA legislation were successfully charged and admission of guilt fines were paid, or immigration offenders were deported.  There was a lack of training on investigating immigration offices, and thereafter taking the cases further for prosecuting and preparing adequate statements for court.

Achievements included the launching of 15 additional stakeholder forums, divided into seven provincial, three metro and five district forums. 100% of South African learners writing matric were issued with IDs. There had been an increase of 5% in the issuance of IDs to citizens 16 years or older. 95% of ID- first issues were released within 54 days, and 95% of re-issues were done within 47 days. 425 schools were visited during the first quarter, more than double the target. Permanent Residence permit applications in Gauteng were collected, quality assured and referred to Head Office within two days, in line with the first quarter and annual targets.

Discussion
Mr A Gaum (ANC) asked why Permanent Residence permits were being issued so slowly, and asked what could be done to reduce backlogs and processing times.

Mr Moloi said that his office was committed to a 90 day turnaround time on permanent residence permits, and to ensuring quality assurance but delays did exist and further investigations would be made.

Mr McIntosh asked if the provincial manager was aware of instances where human trafficking syndicates were being used by asylum seekers coming into Gauteng.

Mr Moloi was not aware of human trafficking but said a united effort to stem the tide of illegal people-smuggling was needed. There were still lessons to be learned, but the DHA was making progress.

Mr Mnqasela noted that several provinces would be closing their refugee reception offices, and therefore enquired how Gauteng would deal with issues of asylum seekers in future.

Mr Moloi responded that DHA had realised the difficulties raised by the cumulative asylum seeker backlog. However, he was confident that once the Refugee Appeal Board (RAB) and SCRA were fully capacitated this would decrease as a result. Full modernisation of the Department would further ensure proper processing of biometric data and prevent abuses of the system by enhancing information capture.

Ms Makhuba raised the issue of duplicate IDs, saying that although there was apparently an increase in turnaround of information, all provinces were still showing high backlog figures.

Mr Moloi noted that unsecured birth certificates had sometimes led to the creation of duplicate IDs by unscrupulous persons. It was necessary to secure documents against fraud to prevent the illegal production of fake identification documents and the related abuses to the social security system.

Ms Bothman mentioned the difference in staffing structures across provinces.

Ms Makhuba was concerned about absenteeism from the workplace of several provincial offices.

Mr Moloi noted that absenteeism must be dealt with from the managerial level. It must be put to the managers that if their offices were missing employees, they themselves were responsible for ensuring that staff were at work. Strict disciplinary action must be taken against transgressors.

Ms Bothman requested that proper documentation of all foreign nationals in the country be pursued, through an organised campaign, as it was presenting a number of problems nationwide.

The Chairperson wished to know why service providers could not be registered.

Mr Moloi said that service provider registration was based on the fact that employment file accounts at State Information Technology Agency must be closed prior to changing employment but this situation has since been rectified.

The Chairperson was worried over a lack of security at local DHA offices, after the recent theft of some computers, and asked how this situation could be addressed.

Mr Moloi emphasised that DHA did have security in all of its offices but said that the theft of computers occurred during a relocation of office spaces and that the outsourced security firm was held to account over the theft. The major problem with this was that sensitive information could have fallen into nefarious hands.

Mr Moloi said, in relation to questions about disabled employment asked earlier, that positions had been earmarked for persons with disabilities, but a concerted effort needed to be made to engage with disabled persons and their associations to find the right people to fill job quotas.

Mpumalanga Provincial Department
Mr Robert Zitha, Acting Provincial Manager, Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Home Affairs,  gave an outline and physical description of Mpumalanga, noting that the province was well connected, with road and rail links and a number of small airports. 27.5% of the population aged 20 and over had no formal education, and 41% of those aged 15 to 64 were unemployed. Roughly 55% of the province lived below the United Nations poverty line definition. The province was divided into three district municipalities which were subdivided into 18 local municipalities with a total population of approximately 3.8 million people.

The DHA footprint in the province included over 70 offices and facilities, 10 border posts and one airport. An overview of hospitals was detailed. The first quarter targets included the finalisation of negotiations for accommodation and data lines at Bethal, Siyabuswa and Sabie. The overall annual target for Mpumalanga was the addition of six health institutions with maternity facilities and the ability to register births online. An extensive report on advancement in service provision at various hospitals was provided on slide 17.

Mr Milingoni Nemutshili, Director: Finance and Support, Limpopo Provincial Department, continued from Slide 18, by outlining the number of filled and vacant posts. He noted vacancies for funded posts as 154 critical positions and 26 natural attritions. A total of 66 posts and one internship had been advertised. A gender breakdown showed there were 315 males and 322 females working in the province, with six disabled workers of whom four were male and two were female, with a target of 12 disabled posts.

A summary of the budget was given on slide 21. The total budget allocation was R166.9 million. The first  quarter was R31 million (18.8%) showing an underspending of 6.2%. Mpumalanga, like Limpopo, saw an overspending on transfers and subsidy payments at 124.3%. Assets in the province totalled R47.7 million.

Mr Zitha resumed the presentation by giving the number of births registered in the province. The first quarter target was 7 822 and 9 889 were registered. 47% of schools were visited by DHA officials to collect ID applications from learners 16 years and above, in excess of the target. There was an annual target that all South African learners writing matric in Mpumalanga should be issued with IDs, as required by examination regulations, in 2012/13.

There were 8 285 passport applications, and although the targets suggested that the turnaround time on passport applications should be two days for manual processing and one day for live capture, there were only two offices in the province with live capture machines, in Nelspruit and Witbank.

There were 327 duplicate IDs. Despite very low volumes of applications Mpumalanga had the longest turnaround time on LRB applications in the country at 6.95 months.

There were 63 Permanent Residence Permit applications made in the first quarter, of which two were approved at the national office and 60 other applications were awaiting adjudication. He presented the statistics on visa over-stayers, and the detention and deportation numbers were on slide 38. There were 24 criminal cases concluded in the Magistrate’s Court. 53 stakeholder meetings were held. There were 836 cases on the Case Management System. There were respectively 833 874 arrivals and 773 033 departures recorded at ports of entry.  393 people were refused entry and 34 people were prevented from exiting the province. There were 5 524 deportations from January to June.

The Electronic Queue Management System was installed at two offices in the province, at White River and Witbank and would be installed in Nelspruit. The system allowed for estimates on waiting time, made it possible to determine busy periods, indicated the number of clients waiting on line and the number served, and gave a more professional impression.

In respect of fleet management, he outlined that there were 117 vehicles, 105 of which were functional, 7 were new, and 12 had been involved in accidents or were non-functional. 11 mobile offices existed in the province, of which 5 were non-functional as one was in the garage awaiting repairs, and four had system problems. Total revenue from the mobile offices was R116 960.

There were 733 ID applications and 757 re-applications.

The rental and expiry dates for leases of offices were provided, and it was pointed out that most leases were current and ongoing for the next few years. The total rental was R780 580.

In respect of fraud and corruption, there were 13 suspensions and three dismissals. Staff development training was held four times for 21 persons, all black, of whom 9 were male and 11 female.

The Provincial Stakeholder forum was expected to launch in the second quarter and meetings were held in this regard with executive members on 15 June 2012. Dates of stakeholder meetings were listed and it was noted that the provincial business plan had been compiled and submitted. 99.9% of assessment reports were submitted. Staff interacted with the Province through monthly Provincial Management meetings, monthly regional meetings, weekly district management meetings, weekly staff meetings, and quarterly reviews.

The achievements included an improvement in turnaround times on orders and payments within the LOGIS system, as the province was now issuing its own order numbers for BI-488’s and accommodation. The relocation of the Middelburg office was also mentioned, and these new offices were built according to DHA specifications, with far superior working conditions that were compliant with Occupational Health and Safety requirements.

The challenges were broken down into specific categories. Infrastructural problems included the failure to secure accommodation in rural areas and the long processing times at the Department of Public Works. There were challenges around late registration of births, illegal foreigners, Thusong Centres, mobile offices, and cable theft. Theft of copper telephone wires, specifically in the Nkomazi area, left computers offline at regional offices.

Discussion
Ms Makhuba wondered why, after nearly a year, many of the managerial positions in the province were still only staffed with ‘acting’ managers.

Ms Makhuba commended this office on its negotiations for new space at local hospitals in order to register births quickly and efficiently, but noted that when this was in place, the province must ensure that the infrastructure was utilised appropriately.

Mr Zitha said that the Department encouraged staff members onsite in maternity wards to approach new mothers and to register the birth there. However, traditional naming rites meant that some people went home prior to registering births. In addition, the educational level of certain constituents meant that mothers did not want to register babies under their own surnames, particularly if they were unwed mothers.

Ms Makhuba asked for clarity on hiring disabled persons, noting that DHA had said that some officials were unwilling to disclose their disabilities.
Mr Zitha provided several examples of provincial officials who were by definition disabled but did not want to be declared as such.

Ms Makhuba wondered if DHA was able to ensure that people actually left the country after being issued with a Form 21 notice.

Ms Bothman said she was impressed by this office, during the oversight visit, but expressed concern that the province could not provide adequate statistics on undocumented persons in the province. She asked for a full report, so that the Committee could determine the porousness of the border and provincial difficulties in dealing with illegal immigration.

Mr Mnqasela raised the issue of the documented 80 000 individuals who were in the province illegally, and asked what was being done. There was a need to focus on expenditure, as it was important to spend DHA budgets properly.

Mr Zitha suggested that all stakeholders needed to be on board before the issue of illegal immigration could be properly dealt with. The South African Defence Force largely ignored borders with Swaziland and focussed on Mozambique, so that illegal immigrants often came through the Swazi border. The Defence Force was thin on the ground and had no choice but to be selective in border patrol. In addition, particularly in Mpumalanga, many immigrants who had entered the country many years ago, and who were not at that time able to pay for residence permits, had stayed and their children had since been born in South Africa. There were many requests to legalise the 80 000 documented foreigners living in the province. This was a challenge to the integrity of the DHA in the province, as many other immigrants might then attempt to abuse possible legalisation.

Due to time constraints, the meeting was adjourned at this point.


 

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