Home Affairs service delivery improvement in Gauteng, Limpopo, Free State & Eastern Cape; Petition for 12-month suspension of certain immigration provisions to conduct regulatory impact assessment

Home Affairs

01 September 2015
Chairperson: Mr B Mashile (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee received briefings from four Department of Home Affairs (DHA) provincial managers -- from Limpopo, Gauteng, the Free State, and Eastern Cape – on the service delivery in their respective provinces. It also considered a petition for a 12-month suspension of certain immigration provisions in order to conduct a regulatory impact assessment.

The Limpopo DHA said most hospitals in the province lacked permanent health staff and only eight of the vacant health staff posts had been filled. The province had achieved its targets in terms of birth registrations, invoice settlements within 30 days, ID applications for citizens 16 years and above, outreach campaigns, the issuance of IDs to learners in schools, the transfer of undocumented foreigners to Lindela within 20 calendar days, the deportation of undocumented foreigners within 30 days, and the finalisation of fraudulent marriage cases. However, it had failed to achieve its targets as regards the general inspection of schools and businesses, and the charging of employers. While Operation Fiela appeared to be meeting performance standards, many ID duplication cases had not been resolved. The province was well within its spending limits, with 25.63 % of its total budget spent in the first quarter. The main challenge facing the province was office accommodation.

The Gauteng DHA reported that as a result of recommendations made after the Committee’s oversight visit last November, renovations had been carried out at the Tshwane Interim Refugee Reception Office (TIRRO), an electronic booking system had been developed, and security clusters were now assisting with queue management. The top three targets achieved were payment of invoices within 30 days, direct deportation of illegal immigrants, and absenteeism management. Targets not met included birth registrations within 30 calendar days, the charging of employers, investigation of fraudulent marriages, issuance of smart ID cards to citizens 16 years and older, and transfers to Lindela within 20 days. Overall spending was within the 2% limits for under or overspending. There had been nine dismissals and seven warnings in employee-related cases, and six of the 18 cases received by Counter Corruption and Security Services (CCSS) had been finalised.

The Eastern Cape DHA said it had achieved its mandates in terms of charging transgressors of departmental legislation, and the deportation of undocumented foreigners within 30 calendar days, but targets such as birth registrations within 30 days, the issuance of smart IDs to citizens 16 years and above, the charging of employers, and the transfer of undocumented foreigners within 20 calendar days had not been achieved. The province also conducted an employee wellness programme, which was an unfunded mandate.  The province was within limits of spending, with a depicted 25.25% spending at the end of the first quarter. There had been an increase in precautionary measures and disciplinary hearings in the last two years. The majority of the cases were related to corruption and allegations of fraudulent birth registrations and marriages. The main challenges facing the province were an unstable hospital network infrastructure, outdated IT equipment, an ageing and insufficient fleet, a lack of office accommodation, and budgetary constraints.

The Free State said that targets met had included the issuance of smart IDs, high impact outreach campaigns, the charging of transgressors and investigation of fraudulent marriages, as well as direct deportation within 30 days. However, the province had failed to meet  targets for the payments of invoices within 30 days, the charging of employees, transfers to Lindela within 20 days, and birth registrations within 30 calendar days. 178 employees had benefited from staff development programmes, and others from employee wellness programmes. The financial report depicted an expenditure of 60% in terms of goods and services, above the norm of 33.33%. This had been due to the procurement of 17 additional vehicles without an additional operational budget, the appointment of 12 officials, and frequent maintenance of ageing vehicles. An additional budget of R7 million had been requested. Regarding corruption prevention and prosecution, there had been one official arrest, 13 new cases in the current year, three finalised cases of ID fraud and fraudulent marriages, and two projects driven to address corruption. Key achievements had been the modernisation of infrastructure, service delivery and recruitment, while key challenges were the lack of infrastructure at the borders, insufficient office accommodation, and overstays by Lesotho citizens.

Members raised concerns over the late registration of births, hospital connectivity issues and the need to stamp out corruption and fraud. They also sought clarification on the financial implications of deportation and the late transfer of undocumented immigrants. There was appreciation for the high proportion of women employed in the Department, but disappointment that few were in senior management positions. Members pointed out that the existence of vacant funded posts influenced the Department’s capacity. There was also concern that there was a contrast in the information contained the Director General’s report, compared to the provincial managers’ reports.

The Committee afterwards reached an agreement to process the petition it had received regarding the suspension of certain immigration provisions.

Meeting report

DHA Limpopo
Ms Florah Motsitsi, Provincial Manager, Limpopo, said that the province shared international borders with three countries -- Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. It occupied 10% of the country’s land area and had a population of 5.4m, which was predominantly black (97%).  Sepedi and Xitsonga were the major languages. There were five districts with 25 local municipalities.

She described the Home Affairs footprint in the province and the operating model, which showed the Vhembe District without a District Manager Operations (DMO) even though it possessed a refugee centre and three ports of entry. Mopani and Capricon districts had one port of entry each, with eight and ten offices respectively. Sekhukhune and Waterberg districts each had six offices, and the latter had four ports of entry, which depicted a total of 43 offices, a provincial office, nine ports of entry, and a refugee reception centre.

The hospital footprint revealed that six of the ten hospitals in the Capricon district did not have permanent health staff, which was also the case at all ten hospitals in Waterberg, all nine hospitals in Mopani, and all eight hospitals in Vhembe district. Four out of a total of nine hospitals in Sekhukhune district had no permanent health staff, and Dilokong hospital in the district had a vacant funded post.

According to the mobile office footprint, the districts had a combined total of 16 mobile offices. Vhembe district was pictured as the top performer, and others were performing fairly well, with a few districts requiring configuration of installed dishes, and Capricon expected to fix a broken dish. The smart card footprint revealed an over-performance of 65 085 against a target of 62 160, with Vhembe highlighted as the top performer, closely trailed by Mopani and Capricon districts respectively.

As regard the registration of new born children within 30 days of birth, the province had achieved its target by having a total of 23  673 registrations, as against its target of 21 708. The province had achieved its target by issuing 63 286 ID smart cards for citizens 16 years and above, as opposed to its target of 60 480. The Late Registration of Births (LRB) mop-up campaign had achieved its target of by visiting 144 areas between 8 and 20 June 2015. The province had also achieved its target as regards the implementation of the front office toolkit at small, medium, and large offices.

Ms Motsitsi said that the province had failed to achieve its target of 95% as regards resolution of complaints, as only 158 of the 248 received complaints had been processed. It had achieved a 100% record in terms of visiting schools for the collection of ID applications from learners 16 years and above in the quarter. Regarding the transfer to Lindela within 20 calendar days and the deportation of undocumented foreigners within 30 calendar days, the province had achieved its targets by transferring 20 undocumented foreigners to Lindela within the specified time frame and deporting a total of 679 undocumented foreigners within 30 calendar days.

The province had failed to meet its target for charging fraudulent employers in terms of section 38 (4) (a) of the Immigration Act, as most workplaces were usually locked, thereby denying the inspectorate access. This had resulted in only 12 employers out of the quarterly target of 40 being charged. With a set target of 936, 1 013 transgressors had been charged in terms of the Immigration Act. The province had also achieved its target as regard the finalisation of fraudulent marriages, and the finalisation of 75% of first instance status determinations within three months in the province. It had failed to meet its target of 307 general inspections of businesses, and had failed to meet its target in terms of inspections of registered hotels -- only 77 of the targeted 88 had been inspected. As regards the general inspections of schools, only two out of the targeted 247 had been achieved. The payment of invoices within 30 days was at the 100% level.

Out of a total of 237 cases of duplicate IDs received, only two cases had been finalised, and none of the 42 cases received of multiple persons sharing the same ID number had been finalised. Through Operation Fiela, a total of 687 foreigners (mostly males) had been deported between May and 17 August 2015. A total of 918 staff members were employed between the levels 3 and 14, with 493 females, 417 males and 16 people with disabilities (eight of each gender) and the capacity rate was 94%. A total of 27 posts had been filled in the first quarter. A total of 130 performance agreements for Beit Bridge port of entry had been submitted to the chief directorate, port control, and they could not be captured in the provincial report.

Mr Thifelimbilu Matshaya, Director of Finance, revealed that 25.63% of the 2015/2016 budget had been spent as at end of June 2015, and a total of R8.m in revenue had been collected. Vhembe district had been the highest contributor, trailed by Capricon and Mopani districts.

Ms Motsitsi said that as regard fleet management, 118 of the 123 vehicles in the province were functional and all vehicles used for mobile offices were functional. The province had 15 823 assets, and the Auditor General (AG) had concluded that there were no findings after an audit of the 2014/2015 asset additions. Asset verification was performed bi-annually and assets identified for disposal were reported to the provincial office by the districts for consolidation and implementation of the disposal process.

While addressing employee relations cases, she said that of the seven reported cases of fraud and corruption, there had been one dismissal and six pending cases. Of the four reported cases of improper conduct, there had been one suspension with salary, and three pending cases. The Counter Corruption and Security Services (CCSS) had received four cases so far, but there had been no hearings.

She highlighted the province’s challenges as the centralisation of vetting at head office, and a major priority as the functioning of the security committee. As regards staff engagements, the province constantly interacted with the staff through the Youth Forum, the provincial disability forum, and a few others. Staff development had seen a total of five training sessions being conducted, the beneficiaries being 100 males and 134 females, with 222 blacks and 12 whites. There had been 1 315 discrepancies as regards the management of leave and 12 Procedure on Incapacity Leave and Ill-Health Retirement (PILIR) had been submitted to head office, and approval was being awaited.

Major achievements had been the increase in inspectorate officials, the increased footprint of the smart ID card, hospital optimisation, enhanced stakeholder relations, payments of invoices within 30 days, relocation of offices to alternative facilities, and renewal of leases. The challenges had been ineffective office accommodation in Polokwane, Praktiseer, and Fetakgomo, which currently operated from a Thusong centre with no formal lease agreement. The Fetakgomo office had been demolished when it was half-way built, as it was discovered that the bidder for the tender did not own the land. Other challenges were identified as lack of registry personnel, duplicate cases, and the poor state of deportation vehicles. 

DHA Gauteng
Mr Albert Matsaung, Provincial Manager, Gauteng, said that as a result of the recommendations arising from the Committee’s visit to two refugee reception offices in Pretoria in November 2014, the influx of clients at Marabastad had been being mitigated by sending 150 to 200clients daily to the Tshwane Interim Refugee Reception Office (TIRRO), renovations had been made, including the maintenance of the air conditioning system, security clusters were assisting with queue management and the mitigation of crime, a budget had been made available for perimeter fence and cameras, and an electronic booking system would be implemented before the end of the financial year to address the influx.

Gauteng, which was the smallest province in size, was estimated to have the largest population. It had three metropolitan municipalities, two district municipalities and seven local municipalities. It boasted of a footprint of 145 servicing offices and a well established youth forum which was actively involved in ensuring entrenchment of leadership, professionalism, development, and maintenance of appropriate standards in the province. The province possessed 24 smart card producing offices, and First National Bank (FNB) and Standard Bank were currently piloting smart card issuance.

The Sedibeng district was without a DMO, even though the post was funded. Four of the 19 small local offices were not operational due to vandalism, and 32 of the 70 health facilities and 10 of the 14 Thusong service centres were non-operational due to accommodation challenges. The provincial DHA offices footprint revealed that only five of the nine offices in the Tshwane metro had been modernised and only one Thusong centre (Mamelodi) out of a total of seven had been modernised. All the offices in the Johannesburg metro except Ivory Park had been modernised. All offices in Erkhuleni metro had been modernised, except Benoni, and the only Thusong centre (Katlehong) was yet to undergo modernisation. Only the Krugersdorp, Vanderbijlpark, Sebokeng, and Vereeniging offices in the West Rand district had been modernised.
As regards the hospital footprint, statistics revealed that only 28 of the total 46 hospitals (inclusive of mobile hospitals) were functional. Seven of the 12 set targets had been achieved. These were the payment of invoices within 30 days, direct deportation within 30 days, a 100% absenteeism management, maintenance of the vacancy rate at less than 10%, effective revenue management, Late Registration of Births outreach, and charging of transgressors. The five targets not achieved were birth registrations within 30 calendar days, charging of employers, fraudulent marriages, issuance of smart ID cards to citizens 16 years and above, and transfers to Lindela within 20 days.

Staff members totalled 1 512 and were mostly females, and vacant funded posts accounted for only 4% as regards to capacity rate. From April to June 2015, 34 of a total of 63 vacant positions had been filled. The province had achieved a 100% in terms of the Performance Management Development System (PMDS) in the current financial year.

A summary and comparison of budgets for the current and previous financial years had revealed an improvement in spending patterns. There had been no overspending in regard to compensation of employees. The overspending on goods and services had been due to contractual obligations, and the province was still within the 2% limits for under or overspending. Revenue collection had dropped from the previous year. As regards fleet management, 176 of the 184 vehicles in the province were functional and 13 of 131 vehicles earmarked for replacement had been received. In terms of asset management and supply chain management functions, 98% of the total assets had been verified, excluding those in an office which had been broken into.

In the field of employee relations, cases of fraud and corruption had been reported, along with improper conduct, assault, and negligence. This had led to nine dismissals and seven warnings being issued so far. Of the 18 cases received by the CCSS, six cases had been finalised. There had been human resource challenges and also challenges linked to obtaining information from other provinces.

Other achievements had been the successful transition of the permitting regime to Visa Facilitation Services (VFS), provision of a dedicated smart card centre in the Maponya Mall, the launch of Moetapele at the Edenvale office, and the filling of all vacant funded management posts. The challenges included the recurring issue of unstable hospital network connectivity, system down times and the lack of a mobile solution for modernisation, high client volumes, and corruption at Marabastad.

The Chairperson inquired about the offices and areas in the Gauteng province where there were allegations of corruption. He also inquired how the Limpopo province was able to maintain a functionality of 100% in its fleet management, where other provinces appeared to be struggling.

Mr Matsaung said that the offices where there were allegations of corruption were in Germiston and Pretoria, adding that most cases were in highly capacitated offices and linked to fraudulent South African IDs. There had been direct links between BBR and some Home Affairs officials in issuing fraudulent IDs and smart IDs. He added that over 60 fraudulent IDs had been retrieved, and that the process of closing the loopholes was an extremely complicated one.

The Chairperson said that the system should have the means of tracking the issuance of fraudulent IDs.

Mr M Hoosen (DA) asked why the age-long challenge of insufficient staff in hospitals was yet to be addressed as it had also been reflected in 2013. He also inquired why there were still connectivity issues with the available resources. As regards Late Registration of Birth (LRB) campaigns, he said that if issues such as connectivity and insufficient staffing were not addressed, the campaigns would be ineffective. As regards the Limpopo province, he inquired about the interventions that had been made so far to ensure collection of IDs by senior citizens. He added that the head office was not meeting its mandate in resolving duplicate ID issues. He sought clarity on the demolished structure in Fetakgomo, asking about the status quo and if it was initiated by accountability error. He expressed his shock that no staff member in Marabastad had been apprehended, given the rate of reported corruption cases. He also inquired about the users of the Waterkloof Airbase and Lanseria Airport, as statistics had revealed an increase in traffic.

Ms T Kenye (ANC) asked why there were few permanent staff in hospitals, and what mechanisms were in place to curb the low collection rate of IDs by senior citizens in Limpopo. Was the South African Police Service (SAPS) engaged when charging transgressors, investigating fraudulent marriages, and when trying to gain access to farms and employers? She sought clarity on the meaning of PILIR and the alarming number of discrepancies in the management of leave. She mentioned that even though statistics revealed that there were more female employees, very few were in management positions from level 10 upwards.  She asked when the LRB targets would be met and the strategies in place to eradicate the challenges. She inquired about the provincial strategy that had enabled the province achieve 100% in terms of fleet management, as it appeared some other provinces were struggling. She then inquired about the service provider for refugee services.

Mr A Figlan (DA) inquired how learners had been educated in Limpopo about smart IDs. How long had it taken to fill the eight positions out of the total of ten vacancies? What were the statistics of clients visiting mobile offices monthly? Were all the branches of FNB and Standard Bank involved in the pilot smart card programme, and what was the performance level of the service? He inquired how weekend birth registrations could be facilitated. 

Ms D Raphuti (ANC) inquired about the interventions made to fill the vacant funded posts in the Vhembe district in the Limpopo province, as there was a high unemployment rate in the country. She asked about the performance of the dedicated smart ID and passport office at Maponya Mall and the reaction from the local community. She asked about the norm for investigations of ID duplications in both Limpopo and Gauteng provinces, and the turnaround time for resolution. She also sought clarity on the ID school visits in Gauteng and the responsible party for payment of services. What were the relief measures for Temba office, as they claimed they were being overworked?

Mr D Gumede (ANC) commended both provinces for the quality work being done to effectively manage the Department and for achieving 100% as regards invoice payments within 30 days. What strategies and negotiations were in place to mitigate challenges related to hospital connectivity? He said that immigration inspectors were incapacitated and there were not enough -- there were rumours of some inspectors not having uniforms. He asked about the challenges being faced by the two banks conducting the smart card piloting service, and measures in place to solve capacity issues as regards governance at the senior level.

The Chairperson suggested that both provinces respond to the three most difficult questions, and give written responses to the rest within seven days.

Ms Motsitsi answered that as regards to corruption at Beit Bridge and the Musina refugee centre, provinces no longer had control of refugee centres and ports of entry. As a result, detailed reports although available, could be presented only via the right channels. Addressing concerns about the demolished structure in Fetakgomo, she explained that the structure was still the responsibility of the Department of Public Works (DPW), since the building had not been handed over to the DHA before it was demolished by the municipality. She addressed Ms Kenye’s inquiry by confirming that five out of the seven directors in Limpopo Province were females. In order to employ more disabled persons, rigid rules needed to be reviewed as many disabled candidates did not meet the prerequisites for positions. The previous Deputy Director in Vhembe, who was busy with his PhD programme at the time of his employment, had resigned after a year in office due to the numerous infrastructural challenges in the district. She said that many powers and responsibilities were not delegated to the provinces, and this seriously hampered progress.

Mr Matsaung answered that the African Union (AU) summit and peace keepers had used the Waterkloof Airport. As regards registration of births, he said a memorandum of understanding had been signed by the Department of Health and it encouraged mothers to register their children. To resolve IT connectivity and down time issues, he mentioned that Telkom would be assuming the responsibility of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA). He said that in 2014/2015, 30 corruption cases had been received, 20 had been finalised, 14 officials had been dismissed, and an additional two had been suspended. He explained that the banks were only offering a pilot service -- they were currently serving bank employees, and were not yet open to the public.

The Chairperson said that the Counter Corruption Unit (CCU) should be compelled to present a report to address their challenges and achievements thus far.
DHA Eastern Cape
Mr G Mabulu, Provincial Manager, Eastern Cape, said that the province was ranked second in the country in terms of land area, with vast farming and mountainous areas, and was ranked third in terms of population. It had two metropolitan municipalities, six district municipalities, and 37 local municipalities. It had a footprint of 140 service delivery points, 22 smart ID card offices, and a well established youth forum. The main languages were Isixhosa and Afrikaans, with a black population of 86.3%. Only 72 of the 157 DHA facilities’ footprints, and only 11 of the 54 health facilities, were operational. The two metros -- Buffalo City  and Nelson Mandela Bay -- had a strong presence of 27 offices. The OR Tambo district had five municipalities with a footprint of 23 offices. The Alfred Nzo district had four districts with a footprint of 15 offices and Amathole district had seven local municipalities with 19 offices. Sarah Baartman district had seven local municipalities with 11 offices, and the Chris Hani district had eight local municipalities with 19 offices. Joe Gqabi district had four municipalities and nine offices, which was not enough to cater for clients’ needs.

Turning to the provincial business plan targets, he said that the province had failed to meet its target for registration of births within 30 calendar days of birth. The pattern was a recurrent one, but the targets would be met at the end of the financial year. The main challenges were connectivity issues, weekend births, and the withdrawal of accommodation by the Department of Health due to renovations. The province could not achieve its target of issuance of smart ID cards to citizens 16 years and older due to system downtimes, long travel distances to offices with smart cards, and payment of R140 for re-issues. The province had again failed to achieve its targets to charge fraudulent employers, due to the deployment of officials to Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) during xenophobic attacks and Operations Fiela, which had led to insufficient capacity.

As regards the charging of transgressors of departmental legislation, he said that the province had met its targets by charging 433 transgressors, as opposed to the 391 targeted. It had achieved its target of deporting undocumented foreigners within 30 calendar days, but had failed to achieve its target to transfer undocumented foreigners to Lindela within 20 calendar days due to the failure of a service provider to collect 14 deportees as arranged.

Port control statistics showed that the two land ports at Qacha’s Nek and Telle Bridge had total arrivals and departures of over 49 000 persons from April to June, most of which were foreigners. The ports at Ongeluksnek and Ramatsiliso’s Nek were manned by SAPS, as there were no immigration officers. At the maritime ports, arrivals totalled over 8 000, and departures were almost 8 000, and were all mostly foreigners.

The Port Elizabeth refugee reception no longer accepted applications and was still processing a backlog of 175 cases received prior to October 2011. The staff profile revealed a total provincial staff of 764, inclusive of disabled people, and was mostly females. A provincial capacity rate of 90.95% was reflected, with a total of 67 vacant funded posts. Nine new staff were expected to assume duties in June 2015.

Ms Monique Lai Wing, Finance and Supply Chain Management, said that the province had a budget of R229 million, and a total expenditure of R56 million at the end of June 2015, with commitments of R1.7 million. First quarter Performance Management Development System (PMDS) for the current financial year was highlighted as 97.4%, and the budget summary revealed a spending of 25.25% at the end of the first quarter. Compensation of employees had accounted for 24.75%, goods and services reflected 25%, and an over-spending was highlighted as regards households. She mentioned that there was a performance improvement to 99.37%, from 98.74% in the previous year, as regards payment of invoices within 30 days, although the department had failed to achieve its target mostly due to banking details that required updates. As regards revenue collection, Nelson Mandela Bay metro and Sarah Baartman district were the highest contributors, followed by Buffalo City metro and Amathole district.

Reporting on fleet management, she said that all 161 vehicles in the province were functional and only nine of the 17 mobile offices were operational. A total of 281 assets were yet to be verified, and 68 assets were leased. Monthly asset verification was done manually, and checklists were completed monthly.

 Mr Mabulu said there had been five grievance cases, two labour relations investigations, 29 disciplinary hearings -- an increase over the last two years -- 26 precautionary suspensions, and two misconduct cases, which was a drastic reduction. Pertaining to the CCSS, 30 cases had been carried over from the previous financial year, 25 new cases had been received in the current year, 42 cases had been finalised, and 13 cases were on hand.

The province interacted with staff through monthly provincial management meetings, quarterly board management meetings and monthly district management meetings. As part of staff development, 54 staff members had benefited from two training courses in the first quarter. 249 employees had benefited from the employee wellness programme, which was an unfunded mandate. The key focus area was the quality of work life, and main activities dealt with HIV and AIDS awareness, as well as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

Mr Mabulu said the aim of the LRB outreach campaign conducted in the province was to ensure that the late registration of births was eradicated by the end of December 2015. The province had identified 211 LRB hotspots. 14 mobile offices from within the province, as well as the neighbouring provinces of KZN and Free State, would be deployed to cover affected areas within one month. Six mini outreaches had been conducted in different districts in preparation for the massive outreach. The focus of the smart ID card project was to identify pitfalls which would hamper the achievements of targets, and to put measures in place to mitigate identified risks.

Provincial achievements were identified as highly functional stakeholder engagements through mini outreaches, launching of the youth forum, and improvement of service delivery. The main challenges had been the non-achievements of ID smart card targets, the unstable hospital network infrastructure, outdated IT equipment, the ageing and insufficient vehicle fleet, insufficient office accommodation, budgetary constraints, immigration matters -- insufficient capacity and tools of trade -- and lack of access to the permitting system by the provincial manager.  

The Chairperson inquired why the Eastern Cape Province had identified the vehicle fleet as a challenge after claiming it achieved 100% against target. He also stated that an investigation might be necessary to monitor the activities going on in the harbour, as the report reflected that the harbour was busier than the airport. He then hinted that if the connectivity and LRB issues were not resolved, there would still be issues of late registrations at the end of December 2015. 

DHA Free State
Mr Bonakele Mayekiso, Provincial Manager, Free State, said the province accounted for 6% of the country’s populationIt had four district municipalities and one metropolitan municipality. The launching of stakeholder forums had greatly improved service delivery, and the province was currently targeting all rural areas to end LRB. The operating model he presented revealed two districts -- Xhariep and Fezile Dabi -- without DMOs. As regards DHA footprint across districts, he said that the province had five offices and three hospitals in Xhariep, four offices and nine hospitals in Mangaung, six offices and six hospitals in Thabo Mofutsanya, five offices and sixhospitals in Fezile Dabi, and Lejweleputswa had six offices and five hospitals. In summary,  the province had a total of 76 footprints, 71 of which were operational.

As regards service delivery, the province had achieved its birth registration targets and improved from the previous year’s performance. Pertaining to unabridged birth certificate applications, he said that 4 376 applications had been received and 2 585 certificates had been issued. There were 1 529 outstanding applications, and 241 equivalent letters had been issued. According to LRB statistics, farm visits and high impact outreach programmes had significantly improved the number of applications taken at rural areas and school farms. A total of 1 028 applications were on hand.

There had been an improvement in the number of smart ID card applications -- 38,380 in the current year, as opposed 29,441 in the previous year. As a result of the issuance of the smart IDs, the number of old green bar-coded applications had dropped from 12 583 in 2014/2015, to 5 351 in 2015/2016. The province had achieved its target in registration of IDs received at front office within one day. 87 duplicates cases had been carried over from the previous financial year, and 38 new duplicate cases had been received in the first quarter. 21 cases had been referred to the head office for the issuance of IDs, and 66 cases in total had been finalised. Passport applications statistics revealed a total of 8 841 applications in the first quarter. Port control statistics in the province showed an overall total of 2 592 893 arrivals and departures, which were mostly foreigners.

Other annual targets depicted the successful prosecution of 74 employers, 1 960 transgressors of departmental legislation, the detection of 2 816 illegal foreigners, the deportation of 1 877 illegal immigrants, the transfer of 856 illegal immigrants to Lindela, and investigation of 253 cases referred to the inspectorate within 28 days.

Mr Mayekiso said mostly females were employed in the province, and most of the employees were in level 6. As for capacity levels, he said the province had achieved a level of 94%. 36 vacant posts were funded, 15 of the positions had been advertised, and some candidates had been short-listed for interviews. The provincial performance assessment was due at the end of September 2015, and a percentage of 100% was expected. A total of 178 employees had been trained in diverse aspects of the DHA. The province currently interacted with staff through monthly provincial top management meetings, quarterly reviews, among others.

Regarding employee wellness, he said an occupational health and safety audit had been conducted on 14 offices in April. Reports had been developed and recommendations made in three districts. The province also engages with ICAS to render employee wellness services and men’s health awareness. It had assisted with the participation of 56 officials in different sporting activities on 8 July.

The business unit monthly financial report revealed that goods and services were under extreme pressure, with an expenditure of 60% above the norm of 33.33%. The abnormal expenditure had been initiated by the procurement of 17 additional vehicles without an additional operational budget, ageing vehicles which required more maintenance, and the appointment of 12 officials in the province. To mitigate the risk, the province had requested an additional budget of R7 million. The province had failed to achieve its target of invoice payments within 30 days due to issues such as insufficient funds, and negligence on the part of a staff member. The province had a total of 12  842 assets and a fleet management percentage of 99%, owning to the failure of service providers to repair faulty vehicles properly.

As regards corruption prevention and prosecution, there had been 13 new cases in the first quarter, one case had been carried over from 2014/2015, there had been three finalised cases of ID fraud and marriages, one official arrest, two corruption investigations, and 11 cases on hand. The six labour-related cases on hand were comprised of one fraud case, four cases of improper conduct, and one case of financial misconduct.

In his conclusion, he said that the province had achieved five out of the nine targets for the first quarter. The achieved targets were identified as the issuance of smart ID cards, high impact outreach campaigns, charging of transgressors, addressing fraudulent marriages, and direct deportation within 30 days. Conversely, the targets not met included birth registrations within 30 calendar days, the charging of employers, transfers to Lindela within 20 days, and the payment of invoices within 30 days.   

The Chairperson mentioned that the overspending of 60% above the norm of 33.33% was totally unacceptable regardless of the reasons, and added that financial discipline was highly imperative.

Mr B Nesi (ANC) sought clarity on the circumstances surrounding the duplicate IDs.

Mr Gumede commended the Free State province for trying to meet the target of 30 days payment of invoices as it assisted in mitigating poverty and reducing the unemployment rate.

Ms Raphuti inquired about the measures in place to meet the target of 30 days for birth registrations, as there appeared to be some degree of negligence.

Mr Hoosen claimed that the information received from the Director General of the Department was mere fancy stories, as they contradicted the provincial reports. Questions should be asked in subsequent engagements with the Director General (DG) and the DDGs. It appeared the Department kept rolling out services without confirming if the provinces had the capacity to deliver on them, which in turn frustrated the clients. He asked if the challenges of mobile offices were connectivity issues. What were the cost implications of the failure to send deportees to Lindela within 20 days, as it cost the department a lot of resources.

The Chairperson mentioned that the Free State Province should compute the cost of deporting immigrants to Lesotho.

Mr Mabulu said that there had been eight resignations in Mthatha due to the fight against corruption. As regards “caretakers” in the provinces, he mentioned that DMOs had been appointed on a one per district basis and the appointment of caretakers was a temporary arrangement so that service delivery would not be hampered.

Mr Mayekiso said that the connectivity issues of mobile offices were the result of positioning satellites for the trucks. The trucks needed to properly position their satellites for signals, which sometimes fluctuate.

The Chairperson mentioned that the briefings were not intended to assess the performance of the provincial managers, but rather to empower the committee to engage the DG in subsequent meetings.

Immigration regulations petition
The Chairperson welcomed suggestions from MPs on how to deal with the petition received in September 2014, calling for a 12-month suspension. He added that an Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) had been established to identify the unintended consequences of the new immigration regulations.

Mr Hoosen said that not all the regulations had been suspended, and added that some of the regulations had been in existence for years and were not new. He then suggested that the Committee should process the petition.

Mr Gumede said the Committee should rather forward the petition to the IMC

The Chairperson thanked Members and representatives of the Department, as well as all attendees.

The meeting was adjourned.  

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