The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs went through the 2012/13 draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR), which focused on the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHAs’) strategic priorities and measurable objectives for the 2013/14- 2014/15 financial years.
On the basis of challenges and problems encountered by the Committee in its oversight; key issues were put forward by the Committee in its strategic plan, where the emphasis was on youth employment, education, representation of women in half of all decision making structures, fighting corruption and enhancing accountability, and a draft Immigration policy.
The Department contributed to three of the 12 national government outcomes in 2013/14- 2014/15. Outcome 1 focused on securing South African citizenship and identity; Outcome 2 dealt with managing immigration effectively and securely in the national interest, including economic, social and cultural development; and Outcome 3 emphasised the provision of services within the Department that were secure, efficient, accessible and corruption free.
Its measurable objectives were the Administration Programme, where it would prioritise improving access to the services provided by the Department by increasing the number of service points and connecting health facilities to the Department’s network for registering births. Its Citizen Services Programme would prioritise rolling out the national population registration campaign, with the focus on birth, marriage and death registrations, as well as the issuance of secure identity documents to eligible citizens and residents. Its Immigration Services Programme would prioritise facilitating the importation of critical skills to South Africa.
The report noted progress in key areas but despite the increase in clarity and reporting on targets, performance against set targets in the 2012/13 annual report of the DHA had not improved, with the Department having achieved only 25% of its targets (13 out of 51 targets). The Committee recommended that the Department needed to address matters raised by the AG in the Annual Report and ensure that there was consistency between the strategic targets set, the budget allocated and the performance achieved.
Department of Home Affairs Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR)
Mr Adam Salmon, Parliamentary Researcher, presented the draft BRRR. On the basis of challenges and problems encountered by the Committee in its oversight; key issues were put forward by the Committee in its strategic plan for 2013/14, covering the following departments: Department of Home Affairs (DHA), Government Printing Works (GPW), Electoral Commission (IEC), and the Film and Publication Board (FFB). The plan was focused on the following key areas:
• youth employment
• representation of women in half of all decision making structures
• fighting corruption and enhancing accountability; and
• draft Immigration policy
Department’s Strategic Priorities and Measurable Objectives
The Department contributed to three of the twelve national government outcomes in 2013/14- 2014/15. Outcome 1 focused on securing South African citizenship and identity; Outcome 2 focused on managing immigration effectively and securely in the national interest, including economic, social and cultural development; and Outcome 3 focused on providing services within the Department that were secure, efficient, accessible and corruption free.
Its measurable objectives for 2013/14 to 2015/15 were the Administration Programme, where it would prioritise improving access to the services provided by the Department by increasing the number of service points and connecting health facilities to the Department’s network for registering births. Its Citizen Services Programme would prioritise rolling out the national population registration campaign, with the focus on birth, marriage and death registrations as well as the issuance of secure identity documents to eligible citizens and residents. Its Immigration Services Programme would prioritise facilitating the importation of critical skills to South Africa.
Analysis of Strategic and Operational Plans
In line with more focused planning, as well as in alignment with the 12 National Outcomes from April 2010, specific performance targets put in place for the Minister of Home Affairs were:
• securing the identity and status of citizens and residents;
• implementing effective and efficient refugee management strategies and systems;
• ensuring access to, and quality of, service delivery with emphasis on the registration of every child birth within 30 days of delivery;
• issuing identity documents to every South African turning 16 years and older;
• improving the turnaround times for all services, improving queuing times and unit costs per service
• facilitating the recruitment of 50 000 skilled migrants annually
This resulted in the DHA having 11 strategic objectives, which were further divided into 24 outputs and 39 targets for 2013/14. Of the 39 targets, 12 were for civic affairs, 14 for immigration affairs and 13 were for the administration programme. Despite the increase in clarity and reporting on targets, performance against set targets in the 2012/13 annual report of the DHA had not improved, the Department having achieved only 25% of its targets (13 out of 51 targets).
The Department had noted progress in a number of areas in its annual report, including the following:
• there had been substantial progress with regard to civic services in terms of securing the National Population Register; ensuring all citizens were registered; and delivering services according to acceptable standards;
• the number of health facilities connected for online registration of births and deaths increased from 118 in March 2009 to 334 in March 2013;
• there had been a steady expansion of the footprint of Home Affairs, from a total of 273 frontline offices in March 2006 to a total of 403 in March 2013; and
• a total of 93% of passports that were applied for through the live capture process, were delivered within 13 working days
Consideration of Reports of Committee on Public Accounts
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) heard evidence on and considered the contents of the Annual Report and the Report of the Auditor General on the 2011/12 financial statements of the DHA. The Committee noted the qualified opinion, and highlighted areas which required the urgent attention of the Accounting Officer, the following of which had recurred in 2012/13:
Supply Chain Management: SCOPA recommended that the Accounting Officer ensure that employees of the Department were informed regularly on the requirement to obtain written permission from the relevant authority if it wished to perform remunerative work outside its employment, and that violation of this requirement by law would lead to the necessary consequences.
Revenue management: Contingent issues: The Auditor-General (AG) identified that the Department’s accounting policy was inconsistently applied in both the current and the previous year. SCOPA recommended that the Accounting Officer ensure that the Department’s policies were consistent and adhered to, so as to avoid qualified audit results.
Predetermined Objectives: SCOPA recommended that the Accounting Officer ensure that the National Treasury Framework was understood and used as a basis to make information available to the extent required.
Human Resources: SCOPA recommended that the Accounting Officer ensure that the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) constantly conducts the necessary checks in his or her areas of responsibility
Material errors or omissions in the annual financial statements submitted for auditing: The AG identified that financial statements submitted for auditing were not prepared in accordance with the prescribed financial reporting framework. SCOPA recommended that the Accounting Officer ensure that the prescribed financial reporting framework was known, understood and followed
Other non-compliance matters: SCOPA recommended that the Accounting Officer ensure that appropriate processes were developed to provide for the recording, reconciliation and safeguarding of information revenue
SCOPA concluded that the Committee recommend that the Department work closely with the Office of the Auditor General, National Treasury and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in order to correct all issues resulting in qualified audit outcomes. It also noted that the Committee’s recommendation that the Executive Authority submit a progress report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations to the National Assembly within 60 days of the adoption of the report, and submit quarterly reports on all the above-mentioned recommendations.
Committee’s Key Findings
On the Budget Vote the Committee recommended that the Department needed to ensure that vacant funded posts in the DHA were filled within four months as directed by the President, the DHA expedited the employment of persons with disabilities in order to work towards achieving the benchmark 2% set by government, there was a better working relationship between the DHA and the Department of Health on online registration of births in health facilities, and the Department’s annual performance plan was better aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP)
On the Annual Report, the Portfolio Committee expressed a concern over the regression on the audit findings by the AG. The collection of revenue in missions abroad was still a major challenge. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) was not providing all the supporting documents to the Department of Home Affairs, and the Department of Public Works was not providing support to the DHA in acquiring offices.
On entities, it was noted that the Film and Publication Board (FPB) had 34 targets in the 2012/13 Annual Performance Plan, but in the Annual Report it had reported on 74 targets. Of the reported targets in the Annual Report, 18 were reported as partially achieved (24%) compared to 48% of targets that were partially not achieved in 2011/12. Although improvements were noted, the non-alignment of targets with the strategic annual performance plans had led to uncertainty as to whether the reported targets were accurately measuring the performance of the FPB. With regard to the Government Printing Works (GPW), only 61% of the objectives set in the GPW strategic plan had been achieved for the year, and in respect of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), it had managed to achieve 78% of its targets for 2012/13.
Of the issues observed by the Committee during the year under review, the following were of particular concern and were recommended for prioritisation by the Minister of Home Affairs in the future planning and budget allocations:
• Address matters raised by the AG in the Annual Report, in particular the recurring matter of contingent assets in relation to DIRCO. There should be clear action taken between the DHA, DIRCO and the National Treasury in relation to the management of revenue generated in missions abroad, prior to the end of the 2013/14 financial year.
• The Counter Corruption Unit needed to be fully capacitated in order to deal with ongoing matters of corruption in the Department, and to comply with recommendations made by the State of the Nation Address and the National Development Plan.
• Regulations for the Immigration Amendment Bill and Refugees Amendment Bill needed to be finalised by the end of 2013/14.
• Consistency between the strategic targets set, budget allocated and performance reported on annual reports must be ensured.
• The continued low performance against set targets needed to be seriously considered prior to the strategic and annual performance plans being set.
• The IEC needed to put additional emphasis on voter education and training of the electoral staff. Engagement with stakeholders, such as the South African Police Services (SAPS), needed to be included in this regard.
Mr Salmon thanked the Committee for allowing him to present.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Salmon for presenting. She said there were a number of issues that needed to be captured and edited.
Mr G McIntosh (COPE) said if the Committee focused on the recommendatory structures outlined in the 2012/13 Budgetary Review and Recommendation in terms of its responsibilities, it would provide for better governance. He was concerned that the DHA was underperforming in certain areas, and the DIRCO situation was one that could be sorted out quickly. The draft report provided had been well produced.
Mr A Guam (ANC) thanked Mr Salmon for the report, but noted that the report needed a lot of technical correction, including spelling, grammar and sentence structures which needed to be edited. He said last year’s Budget Review and Recommendatory Reports (BRRR) needed to be included in the recommendations section.
Ms P Petersen-Maduna (ANC) referred to recommendation 10.10 which stated, “engagement with stakeholders such as the South African Police Services.” This should read “engagement with other stakeholders, such as the South African Police Services.”
Ms S Rwexana (COPE) said one of the Committee’s key findings on the Budget Vote had stated that ‘the DHA needed to ensure that there was a better working relationship between the DHA and the Department of Health on online registration of births in health facilities.’ This should also read to include deaths.
Mr Salmon asked the Committee if the report would be better if it was presented with the budget, before the annual report.
Members replied that that would be better formatting.
Mr Salmon said he would send the Committee a revised draft of the report before Tuesday.
The Chairperson said the Committee would require a quorum at its Tuesday meeting. Additions and amendments to the report would be done on that day (22 October 2013), as well as the adoption of the report and minutes.
The meeting was adjourned.
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