The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) briefed the Committee on first quarter performance for 2012/13.
The Department's Strategic Plan was grounded in three outcomes: Outcome 1: Secured South African citizenship and identity. Outcome 2: Immigration managed effectively and securely in the national interest including economic, social and cultural development. Outcome 3: A service that is efficient, accessible and corruption free.
The Department gave a strategic overview of progress made during 2011/12: 1. The gains made during the National Population Registration (NPR) campaign were consolidated and it was evident that South Africans enjoyed greater appreciation for securing their identity and citizenship. 2. The transformation of the Department began from the perspective of improving security and service delivery including building support functions in service delivery and modernising critical information systems. 3. Governance and management systems were strengthened in coordination with the provinces. One result in this aspect was the first unqualified audit in 15 years. 4. A cadre of DHA officials that are patriotic, professional, and caring had begun to be developed and implemented. In this regard a new cohort of immigration officers sourced from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was trained as a part of a pilot project to staff OR Tambo International airport. 5. Amendments made to key civic and immigration laws would assist in strengthening gaps in service delivery and security. 6. A new permitting structure and implementation of the permit project resulted in enhanced security and a reduction of backlogs within the immigration environment. 7. A settlement agreement was reached with Gijima on 6 March 2011.
Key challenges going forward were given as: 1. The DHA will play a leading role in establishing and managing the Border Management Agency which will allow the secure and efficient flow of people and goods into South Africa. 2. The recent audit showed that there was a need to improve the formulation of targets while maintaining their strategic intent. 3. The continued dependence on the Department of Public Works was noted as a specific area of concern as it prevented progress on key initiatives. 4. The management of asylum seekers and the modernisation of DHA systems were critical issues that required more focused attention. 5. The hosting of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Cup. 6. The provision of bandwidth by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA).
The DHA had been allocated R5.2 billion for 2012/13 of which R1.7 billion went to administration, R3 billion for citizen affairs and R550 million for immigration affairs. First quarter spending was R1.094 billion or 20.7% of the total budget. Comparatively, last year 28.7% of the budget had been spent in the first quarter which was a direct result of the settlement payment to Gijima. Further over spending had been a result of invoices which had been received after year end and came onto the books in 2011/12.
Challenges included the ongoing non-payment of suppliers within 30 days. Steps to remedy this situation were listed as identifying gaps in the payment cycle and the nodal points for entry, as well as identifying time-frames for each step in the payment process and responsibilities. Confirmation of banking details for existing suppliers and reconciling creditors were also part of the solution to this issue. A second challenge was the budget for border infrastructure. The budget was allocated to the Department of Public Works and it held the mandate to spend the money; as of the end of the first quarter no expenditure had yet been made.
Members sought clarity on a range of issues from immigration numbers and the closure of Refugee Reception Offices, to the differences in accounting figures presented by DHA and provincial managers. This was a key area of concern, as was emphasised by the Chairperson. More information was called for on the DHA’s role in attracting migrants with scarce skills to South Africa and it was strongly suggested that more should be done to simplify and streamline the migration process not only for skilled migrants but also for those seeking an internship. It was further noted that enhanced checks on the issuance of IDs to grade 12 learners must be made to prevent students from falling through the cracks. More also had to be done to fill critical vacancies as well as those posts allocated to disabled persons within DHA.
Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on 1st Quarter 2012 Performance
Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, DHA DDG: Civic Services, presented the first quarter performance report from DHA to the Committee. As articles 1-3 and 9 within the table of contents (slide 2) had already been presented and the DG was absent these articles were not presented in this meeting.
The DHA Performance Agreement with the President was outlined (slide 4) as the completion of all strategic information and identification projects within already defined budgets and time frames, effective refugee management strategies and systems, and a contribution to the level of skills and general economic development in South Africa. This target would be realised through a positive migration trend of around 50 000 migrants annually and focus on critical skills shortages. Births would be registered within 30 days and identity documents would be issued to all South Africans 16 years or older. Furthermore turnaround time for all services would be improved and the maximum distance for a citizen to access DHA services would be reduced.
The Strategic Plan was grounded in three outcomes (slide 5): Outcome 1: Secured South African citizenship and identity (targets and remaining challenges were detailed on slides 19-37). Outcome 2: Immigration managed effectively and securely in the national interest including economic, social and cultural development (slides 38-46). Outcome 3: A service that is efficient, accessible and corruption free (slides 47-64). Measurable Objectives for each outcome were provided on slides 6-8.
The reporting format (slide 9) was broken down into 1. Each outcome was attained by achieving strategic objectives linked to specific targets. 2. Strategic objectives would be accomplished during 2012-15. 3. Targets were for FY2012/13. 4. Performance was reported against each target with first quarter performance shown. 5. Explanations for non-achievement or challenges were provided.
A strategic overview of progress made (slides 10-11) during 2011/12:
1. The gains made during the National Population Registration (NPR) campaign were consolidated and it was evident that South Africans enjoyed greater appreciation for securing their identity and citizenship.
2. The transformation of the Department began from the perspective of improving security and service delivery including building support functions in service delivery and modernising critical information systems.
3. Governance and management systems were strengthened in coordination with the provinces. One result in this aspect was the first unqualified audit in 15 years.
4. A cadre of DHA officials that are patriotic, professional, and caring has begun to be developed and implemented. In this regard a new cohort of immigration officers sourced from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was trained as a part of a pilot project to staff OR Tambo international airport.
5. Amendments made to key civic and immigration laws would assist in strengthening gaps in service delivery and security.
6. A new permitting structure and implementation of the permit project resulted in enhanced security and a reduction of backlogs within the immigration environment.
7. A settlement agreement was reached with Gijima on 6 March 2011.
It was noted that the Refugee Reception Office (RRO) in Maitland, Cape Town had closed as a result of the actions of the landlord and the matter was currently sub judice. The Committee would be kept informed of future developments.
Transformation matters within DHA (13-14) included the transformation of leadership capacity through three leadership forums which took place during 2011/12. In this regard the Cadreship Framework was developed for all branches and provincial offices to create officials who are patriotic, disciplined, security conscious and people centred.
Performance agreements were realigned to the overall departmental strategy and had improved to 94% of staff compliance up from 62.6% over the previous year. Interventions were also initiated to improve the management of leave and work attendance and a disability strategy was also being developed with a 2% target of total new hires in mind.
Comparative statistics on hiring within DHA were given for 2011/12 versus Quarter 1 for 2012/13 (slides 15-18). In 2011/12 there were 1118 priority posts with 975 filled or 87.21%. In 2012/13 Q1 priority posts were listed as 1309 and so far only 50 posts had been filled or 3.8%. Employment equity status broken down by race was also provided for 2011/12 and Q1 2012/13 (slides- 17-18).
Key challenges going forward (slide 65) were given as: 1. The DHA will play a leading role in establishing and managing the Border Management Agency which will allow the secure and efficient flow of people and goods into South Africa. 2. The recent audit showed that there was a need to improve the formulation of targets while maintaining their strategic intent. 3. The continued dependence on the Department of Public Works was noted as a specific area of concern as it prevented progress on key initiatives. 4. The management of asylum seekers and the modernisation of DHA systems were critical issues that required more focused attention. 5. The hosting of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Cup. 6. The provision of bandwidth by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA).
The way forward (slide 66) included the finalisation of the Immigration Policy, the implementation of the DHA modernisation programme while continuing the transformation of the DHA and a revision of annual targets for 2012/13 as a baseline for providing future audit information.
Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on 1st Quarter 2012 Performance: State of Expenditure
Ms Rudzani Rasikhinya, CFO, DHA presented the state of expenditure for DHA in the first quarter of 2012/13.
The DHA had been allocated R5.2 billion (slide 3) for 2012/13 of which R1.7 billion went to administration, R3 billion for citizen affairs and R550 million for immigration affairs. First quarter spending was R1.094 billlion or 20.7% of the total budget. Comparatively, last year 28.7% of the budget had been spent in the first quarter which was a direct result of the settlement payment to Gijima. (The Who Am I Online project was taken on by Gijima in 2008 to overhaul the DHA’s information technology infrastructure. Gijima received a letter from the DHA in April 2010, in which it declared the contract invalid, reportedly owing to failure to deliver. However, Gijima’s legal team held that the contract was valid and enforceable. An out of court settlement was reached at R373.9 million.) Further over spending had been a result of invoices which had been received after year end and came onto the books in 2011/12.
Low spending in the first quarter was a result of bills coming due only in the second quarter. On slide 5 low spending for transversal information technology management was due to the lack of a signed contract with Gijima that has since been finalised and thus spending would pick up in the second quarter. Low expenditure for Office Accommodation, a category that included leasing, rent and taxes, and office refurbishment, happened because of private leases not coming due until the month after the bill. Under spending in the provinces (slide 7) was a result of the recent decentralisation of payments and it was necessary for the provinces to adjust to these changes.
On slide 8 the 5% difference (20% spent) in the compensation of employees was a result of the lengthy hiring process which could take as long as 5 months and where many new posts would only be filled from July 1. Under spending in goods and services was at 14.2% of the desired 25% which was worrying but analysis had shown that the DHA modernisation scheme which had yet to take off and under spending in office accommodation were mainly to blame. Payments for financial assets of R53 million were reserved for unauthorised spending that had not been approved by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA).
Challenges (slide 9) included the ongoing non-payment of suppliers within 30 days. Steps to remedy this situation were listed as identifying gaps in the payment cycle and the nodal points for entry, as well as identifying time-frames for each step in the payment process and responsibilities. Confirmation of banking details for existing suppliers and reconciling creditors were also part of the solution to this issue. A second challenge was given as the budget for border infrastructure. As the budget was allocated to the Department of Public Works and they held the mandate to spend the money as of the end of the first quarter no expenditure had yet been made.
An update on decentralisation was provided (slide 10) with the plans implemented in Quarter 1 given as the commencement of the decentralisation of the procurement and payment function to all nine provincial finance offices. This meant that procurement of goods and services up to R500 000 could be procured at the provincial offices. All purchases greater than R500 000 would be obtained through the Departments Bid Adjudication Committee and payment of supplier invoices up to R500 000 could be processed at the provincial office.
In terms of revenue going forward for 2012/13 (slides 11-12) the National Treasury granted approval for the Department to operate a Trading Account (TA) for all civic and immigration related revenue. The purpose of this TA was to ensure that the revenue generated by documentation and passport services was sufficient to cover the expenditure related to producing the face value documentation.
The revenue listed on slide 11 excluded revenue from the following sources: revenue collected on behalf of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), revenue from fines for over stayers and penalties for conveyors. The systems for these transactions were being reviewed to ensure integration in the financial management system for the TA. The TA will operate on the accrual basis of accounting which meant that transactions would be captured when the transaction occurred versus when the payment was received (cash basis of accounting).
By the end of the year there would be two separate financial statements, one for growth and another for the Trading Account as you cannot mix the two because they used a different accounting basis.
Offices to be opened or refurbished across the country in each province were listed on slides (13-14). This would reduce the distances required to travel in order for citizens to access DHA services.
Mr M de Freitas (DA) wished to know how the number of 50 000 migrants was reached. On slide 7 he wished for further comments on the negative processes and barriers the DHA has imposed on skilled workers who are available to come to South Africa but cannot due to limitations created by DHA. He also mentioned limitations and unnecessary requirements imposed on internships.
He wondered what would be done in the future to ensure RROs were in an acceptable condition so that the landlord would not be dissatisfied and ask courts for eviction notices.
What was the problem with delays in the hiring process which he noted were consistently on the side of DHA?
What was the function of stakeholder forums and what criteria were used to measure the success of these meetings? Targets were mentioned but there is very little in terms of time frames? If a target had failed to be met rather than not achieved what was the actual reason behind this failure?
What is the issue surrounding duplicate forms and why have processes not been simplified through an online process for example? Surely the application process should be simple and easy rather than having to come and queue in person 3 or 4 times? On slide 40 how were Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) chosen for enhanced visa services?
Internally what was the situation with RROs not only those at borders and ports of entry but those inland as there were many refugees already within the country? How were scarce skills being identified? On slide 46 DHA was there to administer people coming in not marketing South Africa as a country.
Mr M Mqnqasela (DA) said that only 10.4% was spent on office and accommodation and this was a very low level of expenditure and wondered why the figure was so low. On slide 25 he noted an interest in whether a database would be created of all grade 12 learners to ensure they would get their IDs on time and be able to undergo their required matric examinations. He also wished for an explanation on the SITA programme and how it would operate.
Mentioning the infrastructure at borders and the fact that RROs must move to the borders as a point of recent legislation he wished to know how long it would take to relocate these facilities.
Ms G Bothman (ANC) expressed concern over the woefully low numbers of disabled people filling vacant posts as well as the overall lack of filling critical posts. She wondered how this was possible when it was well understood that without hiring more staff the situation in the country would not be improved. What would be the difference if there was actually a full work force implementing reforms at DHA?
She noted the incumbent difficulties of predicting how many children would be born in a year and she urged DHA to consider new options for registering births in a more comprehensive manner. Following on the statement of Mr Mnqasela she emphasised the need to issue IDs to grade 12 learners in a timely fashion and asked that if a database were to be created it was done quickly.
She noted a severe need for the DHA and provincial departments to reconcile information regarding which offices would be refurbished as there were differences in the data presented to the Committee at earlier presentations from separate strategic plans.
The Chairperson expressed a need for the rapid finalisation of regulations and deep concern for the information provided by provincial managers calling them ‘Hollywood actors’ especially in reference to Mpumalanga. She strongly suggested that if there were competent people within their own provinces they should be employed instead of taking officials from other provinces to fill gaps. She wished to know where fines from over stayers were kept as they did not appear to be in the trading account.
Mr Jackie McKay, DHA DDG: Learning Academy, said South Africa did not have a refugee charter that would clearly spell out the rights and responsibilities but there was a desire for one. With regard to 50 000 annual migrants this number came out of a research document and was a projection of foreign skills needed by the South African economy as part of the performance agreement with the President. DHA had a role to play as the immigration authority to market the country as a place that is open to foreigners where opportunities abound. This was not the same role as that of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) but a supplementary role through what is called public diplomacy to tell people about the conditions in South Africa and that it is amenable for people with the necessary skills. DHA should not be sedentary but market the country in a proactive way.
DRC and Angola had high levels of applications and thus facilities were provided. Last year increased visa services were rolled out to Nigeria, China and India as they had high levels of applications. There was no visa waiver with those countries so there was a need to deal with each individual applicant. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) area there were three countries without visa waivers which included DRC due to the political situation, and Madagascar, and Angola who did not want a reciprocal agreement with South Africa. South Africa only maintained small missions in those countries so the decision was taken to open up facilities in those countries.
Dr John Carneson, DHA Chief Director: Policy and Strategic Management, said there was no cross departmental strategy but there was definitely a need for one. Other Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa group (BRICS) countries like Brazil were also experiencing skills shortages so there was a dire need to be aggressive in pursuit of skilled workers. South Africa must develop institutions to deal with this issue to track, monitor and grow strategies. DHA had until now been quite laissez-faire and the policy in this regard was still in its infancy with an extremely low intake of workers. South Africa was far away from centres of development geographically. There was also a need to streamline intake policies for spouses to make the migration process more appealing. What DHA had done until now was to clear up the backlog of migration cases. Historically DHA had inherited 17 kinds of permits and what they were now doing was to add skills fields to databases to get a more complete picture about which skills were lacking with South Africa.
The track and trace system had been designed to track the progress of migrants in the system and looked at the challenges to separate migrant skills with added functionality in the process being programmed in. The target for the smart card which goes back to the announcement by the Minister and the indication was between now and the end of the FY that it would finally be piloted. DHA was doing consultations with various stakeholders, social services and banks, and working with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in the process of finalising the smart card pilot programme and within 18 months there should be an announcement to go and apply to replace green ID books with new smart ID cards. The issue of why the system cannot be simplified was because there was a need to replace old technology with new and DHA was in the process of designing a new system in cooperation with SARS so that in the future people can apply for documents online and biometrics will eliminate queues as part of the overall ID modernisation project.
The Trusted Traveller programme would also expedite the movement of people in and out of the country and what would eventually happen was that there would be a system whereby travellers could just use their fingerprint and they could enter the country with no need to stand in a queue.
Mr Sello Mmakau, DDG: Information Services, DHA in terms of hiring within DHA said that within information technology (IT) in the first months of Q1 six people were appointed and the interview process happens in Quarter 1 and by the next quarter there would be a marked increase in how many people were filling posts. The current vacancy numbers did not reveal the real level of hiring.
Mr McKay on the frequent traveller programme said that not just anyone can be added as vetting and probity checks would be done to ensure DHA know who was coming in and out of the country removing any threats to national security in the process.
Mr Mkhize on the issue of duplicates said that DHA was dealing with a country that has historically had multiple national population registers which were paper-based and earlier administrations involved people who did not speak native languages being responsible for capturing data which had led to great confusion. Now finger prints had been automated but in transforming the previous system it was necessary to significantly clean up data which had also resolved many of the issues of people who did multiple changes- changing birth date, surname, first name etc. Currently DHA was moving from 400 000 duplicated IDs to far fewer with a clean national population register whose integrity would soon be unquestionable.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) dealt with far fewer people than DHA. DHA had implemented live capture of information and moved to the level of introducing track and trace to monitor the application of clients until the arrival of their documents. This was a reflection of how DHA was modernising their systems. In regards to the reissuance of IDs, when someone applied for an ID at 16 this was known as a first issue ID but when you decided to get married or amend your name or surname this then was became a reissue and this was the only difference between the two, it was not an incidence of fraudulent behaviour.
On RROs and problems with landlords, this was well-documented and it was a matter of fact that it was the landlord that stopped the provision of service to refugees. DHA paid landlords to improve services and eviction notices were not because the environment at RROs was unbearable but because the landlord wanted another client. The relocation of RROs to borders was based on the fact that people arrive through borders and it was better to get service nearer to where you enter rather than asking people to travel all the way to Cape Town, whereby until you get there what document said you can be in the country?
DHA was provided with a database on matric learners by the Department of Education with whom they had a very good relationship which would be strengthened to make sure every learner is accounted for. To deal with learners who had an ID problem or other issues DHA had a toll free number but noted that there were fewer than 100 learners out of the 1000s that were writing exams who had contacted DHA in this regard.
On the issue of 2% disability hiring, DHA claimed to be working hard to make sure these numbers were met and were working throughout the provinces in a decentralised fashion but the progress was painfully slow. It was noted the Committee had raised the matter previously and DHA accepted the advice in totality.
In regards to measurements for targets, DHA have realised that some targets are problematic in their conception and thus there was a need for clearer formulation. Statistics South Africa has noted there was a declining trend of births in the country so in this instance for example there was a need to revisit targets and ensure they are more concrete.
In terms of gender equity hiring and attempting to resolve this situation, at the branch of civic services the DDG is a male, CD male and there was not one female but you could not force people to resign so the only gap available to deal with top management was in the provinces. Out of 9 provinces 4 provincial managers were male and in some cases when DHA wanted to do security clearance and checks on female candidates they did not pass and then could not proceed with appointing them. There was a stated intention to move with speed and this clearly shows that DHA was targeting female candidates if seemingly unsuccessfully at present.
Ms Rasikhinya said that the issue of low spending for audit services was due to the supposed cost source. The internal audit was a time when DHA was making a lot of plans and doing the low auditing work in Q3 and 4 was when the high volume expenditure work would be done. In response to low spending for office accommodation DHA received invoices on a quarterly basis and thus for instance at the end of 11/12 DHA had paid the last quarter in March instead of Q1 because it would then have come due now.
In response to the Chairperson’s statement that the office refurbishment list varied from those presented by provincial managers she assured the Committee that the list today was the final list as the issue of refurbishment was centralised at head office. The provinces would submit their needs and the finance branch would then sit and decide which offices would indeed be refurbished.
Revenue collected on behalf of DIRCO by DHA including fines was done on a movement control system which was a manual process and very cumbersome. Thus it took longer than expected to process the large volume of fines but in the next quarter DHA would be able to report totals. It was noted that this process from MCS to the accounting system was something DHA needed to work on.
Mr Mkhize said that stakeholder forums were necessary because DHA had a history of being detached from citizens and the idea was to entrench core services between citizens and DHA. The main thing was that they play an advisory role but also advance and coordinate service provision improvements. Stakeholders could also provide oversight when DHA could not be there in every instance when there was a particular issue of poor service delivery and stakeholder forums could serve to encourage the mobilisation of communities to direct DHA as a department where there was a need for improved services. Thus these forums played a massive part in helping DHA take services to the people.
The meeting was adjourned.
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