Department of Home Affairs on its 2015/16 Strategic and Annual Performance Plans, with Deputy Minister present

NCOP Health and Social Services

15 May 2015
Chairperson: Ms L Zwane (KwaZulu-Natal) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Home Affairs presented the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan 2015/2016 to the Select Committee, in the presence of the Deputy Minister, Ms Fatima Chohan.

The Deputy Minister said that the Department was committed to implementing effective border control and asylum management in South Africa in order to deal with issues of human trafficking -- especially child trafficking -- which had become a problem in South Africa. South Africa did not have stringent asylum policies, but stricter legislation would come into effect as from 1 June 2015.

The Department said it had had to develop a National Identity System which would include both South African and foreign nationals. Fingerprints would be taken from foreign nationals at the points of entry to make sure that all people within the boundaries of South Africa were traceable. The DHA was in the process of developing a White Paper on immigration. The very first Border Management Agency (BMA) would be established by December 2016, and was expected ready by January 2017. The aim of the BMA was to achieve cooperation and operational integration across all departments and agencies active in the border environment. Interim measures would include upgrading the points of entry to make sure that the country’s borders were secured.

There were concerns that certain Home Affairs offices were over-populated (Kwazulu-Natal) and that there were not enough offices where people could register for smart card IDs (Limpopo). The DHA assured Members that the problem in KZN had been addressed, and that there were more Home Affairs offices in Limpopo which issued smart card IDs than the concerned Member was aware of. There were also plans to build more offices in this financial year. There were 407 DHA office locations, which was not yet close to covering South Africa’s population, but alternative systems would be put in place, like e-government.

There was extensive discussion on the impact of the new visa regulations on the tourism industry.  The Deputy Minister said the regulations were necessary to protect young children from trafficking and prostitution. A balance could be struck when it came to tourism. If it happened that numbers went down, SA must ask the question of what kind of tourism it wanted -- genuine tourists, who would spend their dollars, or this kind of tourism, which was tourism in inverted commas. Immigration and immigration policies did not stand on their own. They supported the country’s policies and the interests that the country had identified, and the Constitution very clearly protected the rights of children.

In light of the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, the Chairperson said that the visibility of the Minister of Home Affairs as the government’s representative had been appreciated. The DHA was asked what strategies were in place to deal with xenophobia, and responded that xenophobia was treated as a criminal offence and the Ministry had programmes aimed at normalising the situation in affected areas.

Meeting report

Opening remarks

The Chairperson welcomed the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Ms Fatima Chohan. She said that the mandate of Home Affairs was not that big in comparison to other departments which have seven to eight programmes. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) had only three programmes and for that reason, the Committee would not take too much time to engage. However, the Department was responsible for very important programmes like civics, emigration affairs and the issuing of birth and death certificates.

The Deputy Minister tendered an apology from the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba, who had to attend a meeting outside of the Western Cape.  The Director General, Mr Mkuseli Apleni would present the Department’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020 and the Annual Performance Plan for this financial year of the DHA.

DHA Presentation

Mr Mkuseli Apleni, Director General (DG), DHA, said the aim of the presentation was to present the commitment of the DHA towards achieving the 14 government outcomes, to describe its vision, to highlight its Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2015-2020, and to present the Annual Performance Plan (APP).

The Department contributed to four outcomes of government. The fourth one -- nation building and social cohesion -- was new. In terms of the DHA’s commitment to the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), outcome three stated that all people in South Africa should be safe, and feel safe.

Sub-outcome three stated that South Africa’s borders must be defended, protected, secured and well managed. This called for an overarching strategy to be developed and an integrated Border Management Agency (BMA) to be established.

Sub-outcome six dealt with identifying all persons in South Africa. This would be done by ensuring that registration at birth was the only entry point for South Africa to the new National Identity System (NIS). A system would be put in place to capture the biometric data of all travelers who entered or exited SA legally.

Outcome four dealt with decent employment through inclusive economic growth. Sub-outcome three was the elimination of unnecessary burdens hindering the importing of requisite skills and investment for the economy, by introducing a “one stop shop” at government level. The Minister of the DHA would be opening a one-stop shop in Gauteng (Sandton) during the week of 18 May 2015 for people to apply for permits, without having to go to Home Affairs’ offices.

There were 407 DHA office locations. This was not yet close to covering all of SA’s population, but alternative systems would be put in place, as had been indicated in the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Strategic Plan 2015-2020

Mr Apleni said the DHA would continue to secure identity and citizenship and ensure that it puts in place the people, systems and infrastructure needed for it to play an effective role in support of national priorities and programmes.

A Border Management Agency would be established by December 2016. It must be ready by January 2017. The aim was to achieve cooperation and operational integration across all departments and agencies active in the border environment. Interim measures would include upgrading the points of entry to make sure that the borders were secured.

The DHA had to develop a National Identity System which would include both South African and foreign nationals. Fingerprints would be taken from foreign nationals at the points of entry to make sure that all people within the boundaries of South Africa were traceable.   The DHA was in the process of developing a White Paper on immigration.

The DHA’s strategic initiatives, aligned with the MTSF, were the establishment of a Border Management Agency, building a comprehensive National Identity System (NIS), consultation on Green and White Papers on immigration, securing, modernizing and professionalising the Department, and improving the front line experience of the public

The long term vision was for a new and sustainable model of Home Affairs to ensure that it could adequately protect the security and integrity of its people, systems, services and infrastructure. Every citizen and resident of SA must have a smart ID card that was accurate, reliable and protected, and the status of asylum seekers must be securely, efficiently and humanly determined. There would also be automation to decrease the high levels of corruption -- credit and debit card machines would be used. Technology would be used to determine the status of every citizen and would also set the standard for e-government, to provide clients with fast and secure access to services at a much lower cost.

Annual Performance Plan (APP) 2015-2016

The APP was organized around three budget programmes:  Administration, Citizen Affairs and Immigration Affairs.

The strategic objectives to achieve Outcome 1 -- secured South African citizenship and identity – were:

  • All eligible citizens would be issued with enabling documents relating to identity status by increasing the time period for birth registration to within 30 calendar days, and rolling out of smart cards through alternative outlets, such as banks.
  • Introducing an integrated and digitized National Identity system (NIS) that was secure and contained biometric details of every person recorded on the system. This would be achieved though professionalization, modernization and rolling out of biometrics at ports of entry.

The strategic objectives to achieve Outcome 2 -- secured and responsive immigration system – were:

  • Refugees and asylum seekers would be managed and documented efficiently through the improvement of security and efficiency in processes and systems, and an improvement in international cooperation regarding asylum seekers and refugees.
  • Enabling documents to be issued to foreigners efficiently and securely through fast tracking the importation of critical skills into the country required for economic growth, and improvement of security and efficiency for permanent residence and temporary residence visas.

The strategic objectives to achieve Outcome 3 -- services to citizens and other clients which were accessible and efficient – were:

  • Secure effective, efficient and accessible service delivery to citizens and immigrants by improving leadership capabilities and implementing channels for the monitoring of service delivery.
  • Good governance and administration. This would be achieved by reviewing the operating model and structure of the DHA, and developing and implementing a business case for a sustainable model for civic and immigration services. Financial and performance systems should also be compliant with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and other prescripts.
  • Ethical conduct and a zero tolerance approach to crime, fraud and corruption through efficient implementation of discipline management, and continuing with the roll out of the counter corruption strategy.
  • Collaboration with stakeholders in support of enhanced service delivery and core business objectives. This would be done by rolling out campaigns and outreach programmes, making optimal use of stakeholder forums to assist with key service delivery initiatives, etc.

Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2015-2018

The DHA had a budget of R6.4 billion. Unfortunately, the budget was cut by 6% each year.  To manage this, the Department would maintain the same budget for the provinces, and reduce expenditure through cuts from units at the headquarters.

An audit action plan had been implemented. On the revenue side, regulations had been amended so the Department was no longer responsible for collecting fines. An issue which had not been resolved was that of revenue collection, which had still to be addressed.  As far as the asset register was concerned, interns had been appointed, final assets verification was in progress, and the opening balance on immovable assets was being corrected.


The issue of selecting an Acting Chairperson, with the arrival of sufficient Members to establish a quorum, was addressed.

Ms T Mampuru (ANC, Limpopo) nominated Ms L Zwane (KwaZulu-Natal) to assume the role of Acting Chairperson in the absence of the actual Chairperson of the Committee.

Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA, Western Cape) seconded the motion.

Ms Mampuru commented that each and every time, when meeting the DHA, it was like meeting the Department of Health, because they clarified each and every aspect. The process of issuing smart cards in Limpopo was very slow. It was most likely that there was only one place that issued smart cards in the province. One more cause of concern was the Disabled Protective Centres. From 2010-2015, there had been no office expansion in Limpopo, and clarity was needed because there was a problem of office space in places like Polokwane and others. Offices were congested almost every day. 

Ms Mampuru said that she agreed with the Director General in terms of the situation at Beit Bridge. The concern was that the security fence had been cut and people came in as they wished. She had contacted the Department of Police, because this was a cause for concern.  She needed to find out what the Department of Police was doing to address this, because it was challenging to Home Affairs -- they were no longer able to manage what they were supposed to. During a visit to the place, she had been able to see people at a distance of four kilometers crossing the river to Musina. This was a challenge. The police in those areas of Limpopo also needed to be assisted, because the conditions they worked in were horrible. The police had no shelter and chairs. Police vehicles stayed in the sun for most of the day.

Ms Mpambo-Bibhukwane said she was a person who had always worked with informal settlements. In the Western Cape, there had been numerous shelters which had been affected by fire. The Department’s spontaneous response -- specifically from one regional manager called Yusuf Simon -- had been highly commended. The reason his name was being mentioned was because he had been involved in numerous cases where he had been spontaneous in getting back to the people and ensuring that they got their smart cards. The Department’s responses were highly commended.  Nationally, Themba Kgatse had assisted in linking her with Mr Yusuf Simon, and for that she was thankful. The response to matters that had come from the Western Cape had been good.

She said a lot had been reported in the media about poor border management, and this still remained a challenge. The Minister had mentioned some of the challenges in the media.  She was happy to learn about the strategies that would be put in place to respond to the problems of border management, because this was where human trafficking took place, and where people who were not medically examined entered into South Africa. In terms of viruses like Ebola, what was the collaborative response with the Department of Health, in terms of people coming into the country? The Department of Health had indicated that it was working together with the DHA, but this had not been mentioned in the Department’s briefing.  The Department was requested to strengthen its position on those issues, because human trafficking and drug smuggling were problems, and these problems often became a drain on the budget of the Department of Social Development.

Ms Mpambo-Bibhukwane said that the new visa regulations affected the economy and tourism, which was a cause for concern. In order for the country to flourish and prosper, tourism and the economy must be boosted at all times. This new Immigration Act was said to have a negative impact on tourism, and many problems were expected to be faced in due course. According to the Department’s website, there were strategies which had been put in place, but the Department needed to act because there were loopholes in terms of tourism and the economy.

She made comments concerning the banks and Home Affairs. Many people, through the Department’s officials -- specifically in the Western Cape -- got smart cards with their photographs on and opened credit cards at the banks, all on the same day. They would then move to a different province and do the same thing again. By the time this had been picked up, much damage had already been done. She was not sure how this happened, but this was in line with how foreigners married South Africans for convenience purposes, to get the benefits of being a South African. The strategy of giving foreign nationals citizenship according to what they could give back to South Africa, was a good move. Having them in the country on the grounds that they were highly skilled was a benefit to the country.

She had not heard the Department’s strategy on how it was responding to xenophobic attacks. The Department had spoken on eNCA on how it had managed these attacks, but this was a request for a comprehensive strategy from the Department.

It had been mentioned that the Ministry had had four Imbizos in four provinces. Which were those provinces? Were there plans to go to other provinces as well? Were there any vacancies in the DHA’s staff establishment? 

She asked the Deputy Minister whether e-government accommodated disabled people and disabled people in informal settlements.

Mr M Khawula (IFP, KwaZulu-Natal) said there was concern from the tourism industry regarding the new visa regulations. This same question had been posed last year and Members had been given the impression that there was no impact, but maybe it was because these had been the early stages. Among other things, the Minister of Tourism had highlighted that he has been engaging with the Department. For clarity purposes, he wanted to know what the issues were that had a negative impact on tourism. If there was a plan to address these issues, what was it?

The second question concerned the issue of border management. The biggest problem, especially in Africa, was not with border gates but had to do with the people who were crossing rivers and cutting fences. It was an issue to such an extent that in the border between KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Mozambique, and between KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland, there were instances of people who had double citizenship, with both South African IDs and IDs of their own countries. This was done for the purposes of pensions, grants, and things like that.  How was that problem being resolved, because it was major? It was a problem not only of people who were obtaining these documents legally, but it was a problem that impacted on the budget of provinces as well. The social development budget of KZN got depleted because of problems like this. One budgets for so many people and have to service more than those that have been budgeted for.

Another problem that was mentioned last year, was the Home Affairs office at Port Shepstone. It was highly overburdened because the Home Affairs office in Bizana closed at about 1pm. Most people from the Bizana area would then go to Port Shepstone for the same services, and this resulted in the office being highly overburdened. Had there been a follow up on that?

He commended the Department for evaluating the status of people who were applying for permanent residency or naturalisation before this could be granted. He asked what the benchmarks for approval were for the status to be approved.

Ms L Mathys (EFF, Gauteng asked about the Zimbabwe special dispensation ZPS permits. There were four conditions for these permits, and she requested clarity.  About 250 000 permits had been granted to Zimbabweans, and they would last for a maximum of four years. Was this a way to manage the influx of Zimbabweans into SA? The conditions of the ZPS permit were as follows;

  1. The permit allowed the holder to conduct work/employment;
  2. It did not allow the holder the right to apply for permanent residency, irrespective of the period of stay;
  3. The permit would not be renewable or extendable;
  4. It could not be changed.

She asked whether these conditions were communicated when Zimbabweans applied for these permits? Did they know what they were getting themselves into? Were there any operations aimed at dealing with non-African illegal migrants? It seemed as if South Africans were always targeting our African brothers and sisters. There was a huge influx of foreigners into this country, including Americans and Europeans. They owned restaurants, and carried out the smuggling of money and drugs. There did not seem to be a lot of activity from the Department of Home Affairs targeting this, yet our African brothers and sisters are targeted and raided out of their homes. What was happening to our African brothers and sisters did not happen to the European counterparts. She gave an example about border entry points. Staff members at immigration points treated African foreigners differently from European foreigners. This was heart-breaking and it was painful, given our history. It was sad to see how our own people from our own continent who had assisted us to get where we are today, are treated. What was the Department doing to train the staff at border entry points to be more sensitive? We could not be preaching a message saying that we are one Africa when we do such things.

Ms Mathys asked how the needed “critical skills” were being determined. Nothing had been raised about human trafficking, especially concerning children from rural areas. There were many children coming from neighbouring countries like Lesotho and Swaziland (both girls and boys), who were being held at sex trade facilities. What was the Department doing about this, because it was becoming a problem and it needed to be addressed as soon as possible?

The Chairperson said there were issues that the Director General had raised. The fact that the budget had decreased was a concern in terms of achieving all the targets. It was not clear how this decreased budget would not compromise service delivery, and this was a critical issue. It had been said that 170 inspectors would be hired. Given the size of the country, this would not be enough. The Chairperson thanked the Department for not cutting back on the provinces, because the budget for provinces was not enough as it was.

Regarding the issue of skills -- which was important for boosting the economy -- as foreign people came into the country with their certificates, were there measures in place to ensure that the person to whom the certificate belonged was a genuine person. Did the Department liaise with the universities to ensure that the certificates were genuine?  How accurate was the Department’s data capturing system when dealing with IDs? There had been cases of people who had had problems with their dates of birth. In trying to correct these problems, the document would come back from Home Affairs with no change. What mechanisms were in place to ensure that information captured by Home Affairs about an individual was as accurate as indicated by the individual? Who was assisting illiterate people to give accurate information?

DHA response

The Deputy Minister thanked the Chairperson and Members for their insightful questions, and said the Department hoped to do justice to them. Responses would be given to the broader political issues and would also deal with issues which were not part of the presentation.

The issue raised by the Chairperson concerning budget cuts was addressed. Members had been aware that although programmes at Home Affairs were fewer in comparison to other departments, the mandate was very broad. If one looked at the DHA’s capacity versus the mandate, one would realize that there was a huge problem. The Department had been talking about addressing the problem of inspectors for a long time, but nothing had been done. The issue of inspectors should have been dealt with a very long time ago. The country sat with more than 700 inspectors, when the City of London had about 3 000 t inspectors just for that city. London was in a country which had the same population size as that of South Africa. This was seen as an issue of budgets.  The Deputy Minister said that the Director General would deal with this in more detail.

She said that Mr Khawula had touched on an important aspect when he raised the impact of provincial and national budgets, and the Director General constantly reminded the Department when he met with Treasury that prevention was better than cure. It seemed as though government was happy to fund all the service delivery departments, like Social Development, Health, Education and Housing. It seemed like government often forgot who the people were who used these budgets that kept on expanding. The Deputy Minister said that that had not been done in investing in Home Affairs’ various mandates in this regard.

She did not think increasing the budget of the DHA would be the total solution to alleviating illegal migrants in South Africa.  There were historical issues which needed to be considered.  When border boundaries were initially made, they were colonial boundaries. There were communities residing on each side of those boundaries, but those were historical legacies. There were problems, as already mentioned, of people walking across the border though the fences. The Deputy Minister asked Members to remember that SA was no longer in isolation from other countries like it was before 1994.

International illegal migration in this day and age made international headlines. Malaysia and Indonesia were sending migrants between the two countries on boats. Those were not the solutions. The real solution was having politicians adopt a frame of mind which allowed just economic development in all countries. There must be fairness in dealings between nations.

There were certain refugees who could be classified as genuine because they had been persecuted in their countries of origin. The Deputy Minister noted that South Africa was located on the southern part of Africa, a place where there was much insecurity. There were pull factors which made it easier for foreign nationals to come into South Africa, like the lack of border management. It was easy for traffickers to operate into this country, because the border was insecure.

From 1994, South Africa’s arms were opened to the world. The rest of the world also had open arms. For the first time, South Africa had been accepted into the community of nations.  It was a romanticised period which coincided with the notion of globalisation. After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack in America, however, many countries had become less welcoming to foreigners, but not South Africa. The truth of the matter was that the country had not inherited any kind of institutions, because South Africa has never had an institution called the Border Management Agency. The defence force and the military were used. The South African military had been present not only in South Africa, but in neighbouring countries and beyond. No one wanted to come to SA because it was a militarily run state. There were different layers of security apparatus, including commanders who operated on farms located in the border areas. They became South Africa’s border management.  When SA became a democracy, the troops were pulled. SA the opened up to the world and when it needed to close up, there were no institutions to do that.  SA was not highly reactive. In addition to that, SA had a very liberal asylum seeker regime. There were no reservations noted in the Convention, and that created another area of growth. The number of asylum seekers then grew incrementally from the time the Convention was signed to the years 2009 and 2010, until SA became the world’s largest recipient of individual asylum seekers. This growth had been arrested to some extent by improving efficiencies in some areas, and at some point the Department would talk about how it had managed to do that.

The Deputy Minister then addressed the human trafficking and sex trade (children) issue. This was a huge problem which the country was dealing with. Part of the difficulty was that it was not known what the extent of it was, due to it involving the illegal movement of people. The Department did, however have anecdotal evidence. Some of them were manifested in the asylum systems.  This was an easy way to regulate peoples’ stay in SA, and children were no exception. In the refugee centres there were many minors who applied for asylum.  What was confusing about this was that in SA, children were not even allowed to buy a cell phone, or to sign contracts. The Deputy Minister stated that the Department was being harassed to allow young people to sign away their status and nationality by granting them asylum. The Department had been resisting this and as a result, it was most likely that it would have to face a court challenge. This had happened before -- the Department had been taken to lower courts in order for them to grant individual asylum to minors, often stating that the minors were in this country to join their aunts or uncles.  This was a serious matter, especially on the Zimbabwean side, where young children had been put in taxis, driven across the border and left, never to be received by anyone and nowhere to go. These were young children aged between seven and eight years old. This was something that the new regulations had tried to address by requiring the consent of parents if a minor was traveling to and from South Africa.  This would be implemented as from 1 June 2015. This country needed to start making choices. On the one hand, the Department of Tourism could say that the regulations would impact on tourism, and they may be right. The Deputy Minister insisted that South Africa had a choice to either turn a blind eye on what was happening, or to ensure that children were protected. The country could not be used for child trafficking. There was another example at the Durban refugee centre, where the centre manager realised that a certain gentleman had been frequenting the refugee centre. He had refugee status and would come with a young teenage girl, stating that the daughter was his and had just come from their country of origin. He would request that the young girls be joined on his application. The manager contacted the police and asked them to follow this man. This led to the discovery of about 50 to 60 young girls in a warehouse. Only a sheet separated them from adult men. The Department had since changed the policy to state that unless the person had identified their dependants up front when applying for refugee status (whether in South Africa or elsewhere), the dependents could not be joined to their application.

The Deputy Minister stated that she did not believe that it was not a choice of one approach over another. A balance could be struck when it came to tourism. If it happened that numbers went down, SA must ask the question of what kind of tourism it wanted -- genuine tourists, who would spend their dollars, or this kind of tourism, which was tourism in inverted commas. Immigration and immigration policies did not stand on their own. They supported the country’s policies and the interests that the country had identified, and the Constitution very clearly protected the rights of children.

The Deputy Minister said that the highest number of asylum seekers was recorded in 2010. Research had been conducted and it had appeared that a large number of these asylum seekers were Zimbabweans, and as it was likely that a large number of them would not be granted asylum because they did not meet the requirements of persecution, they would instead state “seeking employment” as their reason for seeking asylum. These had been clogging up the asylum sector and genuine refuges were not being assisted, due to the large number of applicants. The DHA had then decided to give Zimbabweans amnesty and during that time, there had been a lot of speculation on the number of Zimbabweans who were in South Africa illegally, with estimates ranging from two to five million.  A special dispensation had been granted and about 250 000 Zimbabweans had returned their fraudulent documents in return for four-year visas. The DHA had now entered a second phase of this special dispensation -- those whose visas had expired could apply for another one on the grounds that they had not commited a crime in the last four years. Applicants must also have participated in the first phase. The Minister said that interestingly, this had not helped with the reduction of Zimbabweans in the asylum seeker process. What this had done, however, was that it had given Zimbabweans hope that South Africa would in future legalise their stay, so the lesson must be learned.

The Director General continued the DHA’s response, and said the issue of the Beit Bridge security fence was a problem. The Border Management Agency (BMA) must deal with the border line and the ports of entry -- that was the vision. The issue of human trafficking had also been touched by the BMA.

Concerning the visa regulations, the government was trying to strike a balance because if there continued to be no balance, problems would persist. The DHA could not say it wanted tourism, for example, if the effects of that were detrimental to the country.

Concerning the IDs and banks, smart ID cards would be the solution to this problem. It was easier to be fraudulent with the green ID book. The banks would also have an online verification system to verify that the smart ID holder was indeed the owner, as captured by fingerprints at Home Affairs. The DHA was currently trying to implement this. The smart card ID would be the solution. Banks had an online verification system as well. If a person had a smart card, the bank would request that the holder verify that the ID belonged to them by allowing a fingerprint check.

Home Affairs had 17 000 posts, with 10 000 funded posts and 7 000 unfunded. Every year the Department had to raise money to fund these posts.

Concerning the e-channel, it was aimed at those who were able to access it. The aim was to motivate people to utilize the system because once that happened, there would be more space at the offices for those who were unable to use the e-channel.

The Director General stated that the tourism issue was very interesting. South Africa had moved from being number 75 to being number 44 in the world because of tourism. By implementing DHA policies, tourism would be increased. Tourists did not want lawlessness and wars.

Answering Mr Zwane’s question about the Bizana office, he said that it had been renovated. It was currently bigger, but staff numbers were yet to be increased.

The benchmark for permanent residency was peoples’ critical skills, and what they are coming for. In the USA, one could marry as many people as one wanted, but one did not get their citizenship though that. This was something that needed to be looked at in South Africa, because currently people get married today and the next day they were South African citizens.

Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, Deputy Director General, said that Limpopo had inherited a lot of old offices so they had had to relocate in order to have better offices. In terms of smart cards, Limpopo was not that far behind, as there were about 15 offices at the moment and additional ones would be added in this financial year to increase the footprint. On the issue of people with disabilities, the Department’s strategy was looking at how they could go to the disabled people instead of them coming to Home Affairs offices.

The Izimbizos had been held in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Free State, although there were others held in Gauteng, where the Minister and Deputy Minister had also had an izimbizo. The above provinces had been covered. It was part of the Department’s approach to have izimbizos throughout the country. 

Ms Nkidi Mohoboko, Deputy Director General, said that with regard to the recent xenophobic attacks, the Department viewed xenophobia as a criminal offence. The DHA had played a role to stabilize and normalise the conditions in affected communities and had made sure that there was a strategy to maintain that normalisation. This was an inter-departmental strategy, and the DHA headed the work stream that dealt with immigration regulation enforcement.  The DHA looked at the documentation of foreigners in South Africa, and enforced immigration regulations, inspections and deportations. The strategy was very broad and included not only the security cluster, but the departments of Social Development, Human Settlements and a range of other departments involved with managing foreigners once they were in SA.

The Chairperson said that the Select Committee realised the enormity of the task facing the DHA and was behind the Department every step of the way.  She noted that Home Affairs was becoming more modernised and more efficient, comparatively speaking. Credit should be given where it was due. Home Affairs was also becoming more and more visible. The Committee appreciated the Minister’s visibility during the time of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, representing the government. The work that the Minister and his Department were doing was also appreciated, much as it was understood that there was still a lot that needed to be improved. According the plan, systems needed to be implemented. Whenever there was an opportunity for the Select Committee to influence what the Department was doing, the Committee should go all out because the work that the Department was doing was very impressive, despite the challenges and the limitations that the Department faced. 

The Chairperson said that the minutes of the previous meeting would not be passed because there was no quorum. There was a letter written by Ms Sisulu which would be read by the Chairperson of the Select Committee next time the Committee met.

The meeting was adjourned.


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