The Committee Researcher said that the State of Nation Address had mentioned five government priorities. These had included education and health. The only specific mention of Home Affairs had referred to identity documents, which were essential to the five government priorities. Home Affairs had a direct and indirect impact on the government’s priorities.
Committee Members asked questions mainly about identity documents with regard to immigrants. They felt that this was an important issue that needed to be dealt with immediately. Another concern was about corruption. Members felt that there had to be more preventative than corrective measures, since corrective action meant damage would already have been done.
Acting Chairperson and Apologies
The Committee secretary welcomed Members of the Committee present and reported that apologies had been received from Ms M Maunye (ANC), Ms H Makhuba (IFP), Mrs N Msini (ANC) and Mrs P Petersen-Maduna (ANC). The Secretary apologised on behalf of the Chairperson, Ms Maunye, who was absent as she had attended her sister’s funeral. The Secretary asked the Committee to vote for an Acting Chairperson to conduct the meeting. Ms D Mathebe (ANC) nominated Mr Gaum and was seconded by Mr G McIntosh (ANC).
Home Affairs’ perspective on the State of Nation Address: briefing by Research Unit
Mr Adam Salmon, Committee Researcher, explained that the briefing was centred mainly on the 2014 State of the Nation address (SONA) and mentioned how the DHA had a direct and indirect impact, especially at the education and health priorities which require identity documents for access.
Mr Salmon highlighted the fact that there had been improvement with regards to the number of days taken for the issuing of identity documents. In past years, the number of days for an identity document to be issued had been 60. It was now 54 days. The number of days to register births has also improved. Statistics showed that in 2008 half of the child population took over a year to be registered, but now it was taking 30 days. This was an improvement, because in previous years some children got registered only after the age of 15. It was also highlighted there had been improvement in the Department’s vacancy rate, as there had been creation of more decent work. With regards to official misconduct, between 2008 and 2013/14 there had been 935 cases of misconduct.
The 2014 SONA was more reflective than looking to the future. Comparing the SONAs of 2014 and 2013, he highlighted the fact that there was going to be a turn around for travel documents in South Africa, as tourism would have a greater impact on the economy of South Africa. Three challenges had been mentioned in the SONA -- corruption, the manifestation of violence, and lastly regional integration. With regard to regional integration he added that there were outstanding policies on immigrants that needed to be worked on with other African countries.
Mr M De Freitas (DA) asked where the data about official misconduct had come from.
Mr Salmon said data was from the annual reports of 2009 and 2013.
Ms D Mathebe (ANC) raised a concern, saying there should be improvement with regard to immigration.
Ms G Bothman (ANC) said that there should be alignment between the Department of Home Affairs and the National Development Plan. With regard to corruption, the Committee should look for ways that were preventative, rather than corrective, since corrective action meant damage would already have been done. With regard to regional and African integration, the Department of Home Affairs and the Committee should work together to deal with the undocumented immigrants within South Africa. She suggested that the Committee researcher should do more research on which undocumented foreign nationalities dominated certain provinces.
Mr M Mnqasela (DA) said that the National Development Plan should form the main platform for the next government.
The Acting Chairperson asked if there were any more questions, and reminded Members that they would meet again next Tuesday.
The meeting was adjourned.
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