The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) briefed the Committee on its first quarter performance in the 2019/20 financial year. The Minister and Deputy Minister of Home affairs were in attendance.
The Department had a total of 25 targets planned for the quarter 1. 18 targets were achieved representing a 72% achievement rate, and 7 (28%) targets were not achieved. There is a significant improvement when comparing 2019/20 performance for quarter 1 with the performance of the same period in the preceding year. It should however be taken into account that the number of quarterly targets was reduced from 37 in 2018/19 to 25 in the current financial year.
The presentation focused on the performance in the three Programmes: Administration, Citizen Affairs and Immigration Affairs. Detail was given on Quarter 1 targets that had been achieved or not achieved for each programme. 75% of targets were achieved and 25% not achieved in Programme 1.
33% of targets were achieved and 67% not achieved in Programme 2. 83% of targets were achieved and 17% not achieved in Programme 3.
The Department reported that as at 30 June 2019 the budget of the DHA sat at R8.33bn with expenditure being R2.58bn. Hence for Quarter 1, 31% of the budget had been spent. The major challenge for the DHA was inadequate capacity, inadequate resources and inadequate systems which lead to poor implementation the result of which was that performance and service delivery was affected. Some DHA priorities moving forward were the establishment of the Border Management Authority, to have early birth registrations and to continue with its modernisation programme.
Members appreciated the fact that both the Minister of Home Affairs and the Deputy Minister had attended the meeting. The DHA was asked what its role in relation to illegal immigrants was. How did the DHA work with other agencies like the South African Police Services (SAPS) and municipal police? Members asked whether the DHA on fraud and corruption cases was able to recoup funds. If the DHA was no longer providing emergency/temporary passports what options were there when a South African needed a passport within 48 hours? Members were concerned about the information technology systems challenges that the DHA was facing. Members asked what the status of a new born would be if the mother was an illegal foreigner. Would both the mother and new born be deported? Members asked for detail on the recent meeting that the DHA had had with the Chinese authorities. Members appreciated the network upgrades to eight missions but would have liked to have seen the USA, Australia and Canada on the list as these countries had some of the highest concentrations of expats from SA. The DA felt that a forensic audit on the Who Am I Online (WAIO) / Information Systems Modernisation programme/ project was needed as it believed there to be fraud involved. The DHA was asked about the 216 vacancies that it had at Level 7. Members asked how the DHA intended to prevent the incident involving immigrants that had played out in the Johannesburg city centre recently from recurring. Members agreed that rules had to be observed for operating a business. As such various government departments had to come into play. The DHA was asked what level of integration between departments/ agencies there were. The intention of the DHA to document people in SA was a noble one but members asked what the actual plan was. The concern was that there were huge amounts of children that were undocumented. Documenting would not be easy as the South African society had many complications. Members referred the DHA to cases that they encountered of undocumented children. Members were aware that each case would have to be dealt with on its merits. Members questioned the granting of visa waivers to persons from the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. How would the DHA ensure that persons from these countries would not stay beyond the 90-day validity period? Would there be reciprocal visa waivers for South Africans visiting those countries? The DHA was asked what happened when an illegal immigrant passed away in SA. Who was responsible for the repatriation of the body? Did SA repatriate the body?
In the absence of the Chairperson of the Committee, Adv B Bongo (ANC), who was off sick the Committee elected Mr M Chabane as Acting Chairperson.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Deputy Minister, Mr Njabulo Nzuza, graced the meeting with their presence.
Briefing by Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on its Quarter 1 Performance Report 2019/20
Mr Thulani Mavuso, Acting Director General, DHA, presented the Quarter 1 Performance Report to the Committee. The Department had a total of 25 targets planned for the quarter 1 of 2019/20 financial year. 18 targets were achieved representing a 72% achievement rate, and 7 (28%) targets were not achieved. There is a significant improvement when comparing 2019/20 performance for quarter 1 with the performance of the same period in the preceding year. It should however be taken into account that the number of quarterly targets was reduced from 37 in 2018/19 to 25 in the current financial year.
Programme 1: Administration
75% of targets were achieved and 25% not achieved in this programme.
With the annual target being to have the Biometric Movement Control System (MCS) (full biometric solution) piloted at two additional ports of entry the Quarter 1 target of having the work order approved by the Chief Financial Officer had been achieved. The DHA had also managed to meet its annual and quarterly target of maintaining its vacancy rate below 10%. The Quarter 1 vacancy rate was well below 1%. 81% of reported cases were investigated and finalised within 90 working days. This is well above the 66% target.
Programme 2: Citizen Affairs
33% of targets were achieved and 67% not achieved in this programme. With the annual target being to register 810 000 births within 30 days the Quarter 1 target of registering 205 948 births had been surpassed with the figure sitting at 209 196. The DHA also had an annual target of issuing a total of 3m smart identity document (ID) cards to citizens 16 years of age and above. The Quarter 1 target of 780 000 was not achieved with the figure only sitting at 717 729. Some of the reasons for the shortfall were system instability, system downtime as well as the limited footprint of the DHA. Part of the corrective action taken by the DHA was the deployment of mobile units with live capture functionality and to discontinue the issuance of the Green ID Book.
Programme 3: Immigration Affairs
83% of targets were achieved and 17% not achieved in this programme. The annual target was to have the Draft Immigration Bill including amendments to the Refugees Act to be submitted to the Minister of Home Affairs for approval. The Quarter 1 target of having the Socio Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) report on the New Immigration Bill submitted to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) had been achieved.
One of the major activities of the DHA to note was the Minister and Deputy Ministers of Home Affairs visit to the Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre.
Mr Gordan Hollamby, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), DHA, spoke to the financial performance of the DHA for Quarter 1. As at 30 June 2019 the budget of the DHA sat at R8.33bn with expenditure being R2.58bn. Hence for Quarter 1, 31% of the budget had been spent.
Programme One: Administration – Spending at the end of June 2019 was 18.4% which is 6.6% lower against the linear projection of 25.0%. The 6.6% variance is due to the following:
The Counter Corruption budget is R190.0 million and expenditure as at 30 June 2019 is R40.9 million which is 3.5% lower that the linear projection and this is mainly due to a delay in awarding new bids for physical guarding security services.
The Border Management Agency (BMA) budget is R42.3 million and expenditure amounting to R1.1 million which is 2.6% spent as at 30 June 2019. The low spending is as a result of the delays in finalising the BMA Bill and the postponement of the BMA pilot launches.
The budget for State owned leases is R516.1 million and expenditure as at 30 June 2019 of R55.4 million which is 10.7%. The underspending is mainly due to that DPW invoice the Departments’ on a quarterly basis of which quarter 1 invoice for State owned leases will be paid in June 2019.
Programme Two: Citizen Affairs - Spending at the end of June 2019 is 39.1% against the linear projection of 25.0% which is 14.1% higher than the linear projections. The Department will, during the 2019 Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure (AENE) process, request an amount of R1.188 billion additional funds for self-financing expenditure. The above mentioned amount includes the following: the printing of passports and ID’s (Status Services); cash in transit Counter Corruption and Security Services and improving the ‘look and feel’ of our offices (Property Management and IT). Furthermore, the transfer of funds to Public Entities in respect of Independent Electoral Commission and Represented Political Parties Fund is in line with the Entities’ cash flow projections. The entities will spend their full allocation by financial year-end.
Programme Three: Immigration Affairs - Immigration Affairs - Spending at the end of June 2019 is 24.4% which is in line with the linear projection of 25.0%.
The major challenge for the DHA was inadequate Inadequate capacity, resources and systems in place in the organisation leading to poor implementation which affects performance and service delivery.
Other challenges were:
The dependency on external stakeholders to implement IT and other projects. DHA relies heavily on service providers such as SARS and SITA for implementing IT projects.
Lack of critical skills (IT specialists)
Instability of IT systems and networks affecting achievement of targets by core functions.
Insufficient budget – Inability to fill vacant positions due to shrinking budget and moratorium on filling posts. Unable to increase Inspectorate capacity
Delay in the roll-out of the live capture systems to the Banks (PPP process taking longer than expected)
Some DHA priorities moving forward include:
Implementation of phase 1 of the repositioning programme (finalise White Paper and DHA Bill)
Establishment of the Border Management Authority
Early birth registration: a joint programme between the Department of Home Affairs and Department of Health will be setup to ensure that eventually no new born child will leave a health facility without a birth certificate.
Enhancing and accelerating extra measures in the process of cleaning the NPR
Continuing with the modernisation programme, including e-gates and e-permit solutions.
Extending partnerships with the Banks to enable hosting of DHA service points
Prioritising the appointment of IT specialists
Redeploying staff to improve operations at frontline offices.
Continuous improvement of governance and administration practices
Mr J Maake (ANC) asked what the role of the DHA is in relation to illegal immigrants. Did illegal immigrants ask for refugee or asylum status at SA’s borders? Did the South African Police Services (SAPS) arrest illegal immigrants when they crossed SA’s borders? How did the DHA work with the SAPS and municipal police? Finally, he asked whether it was the job of DHA inspectors to sniff out illegal immigrants in SA.
Minister Motsoaledi replied that at border posts inclusive of the DHA there were seven authorities involved which included the SAPS and the South African Revenue Service (SARS). All of them worked hand in hand and each had a role to play. Hence, there was the establishment of the Border Management Agency.
Mr Mavuso said that the DHA, on illegal immigrants, did central enforcement. The DHA had to ensure that when an individual was arrested for deportation the person had to appear in court within 48 hours of arrest. The DHA worked with the South African Police Services (SAPS). The DHA only had one repatriation centre that was located in Johannesburg. There was however also direct deportation from certain provinces like the Free State.
Mr A Roos (DA) referred to the presentation on reported fraud and corruption cases and asked whether the DHA was able to recoup funds. On the cleanup of SA’s population data mentioned in the presentation, he asked what challenges there were in relation to data. He noted that the training of managers seemed to be excellent but asked what training was provided for front desk staff. If the DHA was no longer providing emergency/temporary passports he asked how the normal passport applications were being expedited. What if one needed a passport within 48 hours? He was hugely concerned about the information technology systems challenges that the DHA was facing. It affected the meeting of targets. He asked whether there were any penalties that service providers had to pay as a result of down time. On having achieved 61 law enforcement operations/ inspections, he asked how many had been in the metros.
Mr Roos noted that the Minister and Deputy Minister had visited the Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre and asked what challenges they had picked up and what interventions had been put in place. He commented that it was a step in the right direction for the DHA to intend that no new born leaves a health facility without a birth certificate. He however asked what the legal status of the new born would be where an illegal foreign woman had given birth in a government health facility. Would both mother and child be deported?
Mr Mavuso confirmed that in certain instances the DHA did recoup funds where there was corruption. The DHA received tip offs and also set up traps for perpetrators. There was one instance where an official was found with R40 000 in his possession. There were instances were funds could not be recovered but more importantly perpetrators were arrested. On the cleanup of the national population register, he pointed out that there were persons that had gotten on it through misrepresentation. There were cases where foreigners used the personal details of South Africans and assumed their identities. The DHA intended to reduce the age for the first time capturing of biometrics. One possibility to consider was to capture biometrics at the age of one. Training was being done on various aspects. One of which was training for staff to understand legislation. There was also training on improving customer services. On emergency passports, DHA did assist where it was needed but did not wish to encourage it. Temporary passports was susceptible to fraud hence the decision to discontinue it. There was no longer a long wait for passports. In the past there was a two month wait but presently a passport was issued within 13 days. The DHA did issue an emergency travel certificate where the need arose. There was thus a good turnaround time for the processing of passports. The DHA had thus far not penalised service providers like the SARS and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA). It was perhaps something that the DHA should consider. When a foreign national female gave birth in SA whether she was a tourist or a permanent resident permit holder the child that was born would receive a birth certificate for non South African citizens which was called a Notice of Birth. The Notice of Birth should be taken to the relevant embassy for the birth to be registered. A second category of birthing mothers was foreign asylum seekers whose new born babies would get a handwritten birth notice. Once the mother/father had the status of a refugee then the child was also classified as a refugee. If refugee status was not given to the parent then the parent and baby would have to return to their homeland where the child would be registered. If a South African male claimed paternity of the child then the child could be registered as a South African.
Mr Jackson Mckay, Deputy Director General: Immigration Services, DHA, replied on the 61 operations that had taken place and said that the metros that had been included were Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban. The outcomes of the operations could be made available to the Committee. The main challenge at refugee reception centres like the Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre was the abuse of the asylum seekers system by foreign nationals. The DHA was overrun by applications from foreign nationals from countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and China. These individuals came to SA for economic reasons but claimed asylum. The asylum seeker, if the application was successful, was allowed to stay in SA for three to four years. The process of first applications for asylum seekers was quick. There was a 95% refusal rate as there were mostly non-genuine applications. The challenge was that most of these refusals took their applications on appeal which clogged the appeals process. This affected the ability of the DHA to grant asylum to genuine applicants. Persons renewed their asylum status applications all the time whilst they were awaiting the outcome of their appeals.
Deputy Minister Nzuza said that one of the major observations at the Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre was that most of the supposed asylum seekers looked like young economic migrants. The DHA nevertheless had a responsibility to consider applications and to investigate further.
Minister Motsoaledi said that corruption would not have a chance if every person in SA was registered at birth. The DHA was even of the view that the 30-day window within which to register a new born was far too long. He pointed out that not all clinics handled new born births. There were 1145 clinics that handled births. The idea was for the DHA to link up with these clinics. The plan was to have clinics that delivered 85% of births to be connected to the DHA by 2021. It was not true that every child that was born on South African soil was automatically a South African citizen. A foreigner giving birth only received a Notice of Birth. Once a foreign national received refugee status such individual had all the rights of a South African citizen besides the right to vote.
Mr J McGluwa (DA) observed that it went without saying that the financial constraints of the DHA did not allow it to execute its duties as it would have liked to. He appreciated that both the Minister and Deputy Minister had attended the meeting. He was sure that a concerted effort by all would assist the DHA in overcoming the problems that were there. Perhaps members needed to be alerted when the Minister and Deputy Minister would attend major events so that members could join them. He asked for detail on the meeting that the DHA Executive recently had with the Chinese authorities. The upgrade of network at eight missions was appreciated. He would have liked Australia, the USA and Canada to have been added to the eight missions that have been prioritised as these countries had some of the highest concentrations of expats from SA. It was difficult for South Africans from these countries to only be able to make application to the DHA if they were in SA. The Committee should be provided with information on how the missions in New Zealand, China, India, UK and Nigeria were chosen to be on the list for upgrades. He did see the rationale why it took eight months to deal with permanent residence applications. In some instances it was necessary to investigate whether marriages between foreigners and citizens were genuine. He noted that he had been passionate about the Information Systems Modernisation (ISM) project which was essentially the Who Am I Online (WAIO) modernisation programme that had been renamed. He pointed out that the WAIO had been infested with fraud and the then Minister of Home Affairs had cancelled contracts of service providers. He was yet to see a forensic report on the WAIO. The DHA was asked who had the contract at present. He said that he would not let the matter of the WAIO/ISM go. There had been fraud and a forensic audit was needed.
Mr Mavuso replied that network upgrades would be extended to the USA and Australia as well. He confirmed that the DHA had terminated the WAIO contract. He clarified that there were absolutely no issues of corruption relating to the WAIO contract being cancelled. The contract was terminated due to problems with delivery. The service provider at the time Gijima had not delivered on services. A sum of R80m had been prepaid to Gijima. How would the DHA recoup the amount? The solution was for the DHA to enter into an indirect contract with Gijima for services for which the payments would be offset against the R80m amount. He conceded that there were instances where the DHA had over-achieved on its targets. It was purely a case of the DHA trying to stretch its targets. Targets that were set should be realistic and achievable.
Mr Hollamby stated that there had been a settlement agreement between the DHA and the service provider Gijima for direct and indirect services. He emphasised that National Treasury was aware that the DHA was under pressure financially.
Mr Mckay, on the eight month lead time for the processing of permanent residence applications, explained that there was a high rate of fraudulent marriages. Factors which affected the processing time were staff complement to deal with applications and the processes that needed to be followed in investigations. Other factors to take into consideration were whether there was a good spousal relationship and whether the one spouse was able to support the other. The DHA had a list of criteria which had to be met. Each case needed to be investigated meticulously. Married couples had to be visited by the DHA in the early hours of the morning or late at night to check on whether they were genuinely married. It had to be checked whether there was a good faith spousal relationship. This placed a strain on the DHA’s 700 plus investigators.
Deputy Minister Nzuza explained that the meeting with Chinese authorities had taken place in Cape Town and discussions were around E-visas. The issue was around how the Chinese could apply for E-visas to come to SA.
Minister Motsoaledi stated that he had been in the health sector for long as Minister and when he had invited Members of Parliament to join him at events they used to decline the invitations on the grounds that they were required to do oversight over departments and it would not be proper to accept the invitations. He added that the matter seemed to be a grey area. And hew would take direction from Members on this.
Ms L Van der Merwe (IFP) also appreciated the presence of both the Minister and Deputy Minister at the meeting. She asked about the 261 vacancies that the DHA had at level 7 which National Treasury had referred to. Due to the budgetary constraints of the DHA, National Treasury said that there would be a shift of funds from goods and services to compensation of employees. On law enforcement operations, she asked where and when they had taken place. What outcomes had resulted from the law enforcement operations? Not too long ago law enforcement had been attacked by immigrants in Johannesburg.
Ms can der Merwe said it seemed as if the DHA had two major issues. The first was budgetary constraints and the second was a lack of staff in its Inspectorate. Going forward the DHA was asked how it would prevent another scenario from what had played out in Johannesburg from recurring. It was noble of the DHA to want to document people in SA but she asked what the plan was. She asked that the Committee be provided with documents as well as resolutions and discussions that had taken place at the Immigration Colloquium that had taken place in June 2019. She pointed out that the DHA had granted visa waivers to persons from the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Individuals from these countries could stay in SA for 90 days without a visa. How would the DHA ensure that these persons did not overstay beyond 90 days. She asked whether the persons would be monitored. She also asked whether South Africans would be reciprocated with visa waivers from these countries.
Minister Motsoaledi, on the incident in Johannesburg involving foreign nationals, explained that the SAPS had gone to the city centre to deal with crime related issues. Illegal counterfeit goods were being sold in the city centre. People tended to mix issues up. It was first and foremost a crime related bust by the SAPS. The DHA was only called in to clarify the documents that foreign nationals had in their possession. Many of the documents were forgeries. Whether it was South Africans or foreign nationals the requirements for operating a business were the same. There were permits and licences that were needed. By-laws had to be adhered to and there were tax implications for doing business.
Minister Motsoaledi explained that when visa waivers were being considered for countries then the DHA took into consideration the security of SA, its developmental needs as well as what was happening internationally. He understood that there was a view that there needed to be reciprocity from countries to which visa waivers were issued. A country like Saudi Arabia might not be willing to reciprocate as it had to control the influx of visitors to its country given that Mecca was the hub of the Islamic faith. If they granted visa waivers to SA then they had to grant them to other countries as well. One of the major reasons why SA had granted visa waivers to these countries was because none of their citizens had applied for refugee/asylum status in SA. The four countries in question had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SA. Other countries that SA was considering granting visa waivers to were Cuba and Ghana. All Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries did not require visas to visit SA.
Ms T Khanyile (DA) was concerned that there were a great deal of children in SA who did not have birth certificates. She had come across cases where not having a birth certificate hampered kids from going to school. There were even Grade 12 learners who did not have birth certificates. There was one case that she had come across where a DNA paternity test was required but it was far too expensive. She understood that the DHA had a shortage of personnel but she was made aware that in Port Elizabeth staff were eliciting bribes from people in queues. Finally,she asked how the Department will ensure that parents had their children documented. There were challenges attached to this as society seemed to have many complications and documenting would not be easy.
Mr Mavuso said that every case differed and that each case should be dealt with on its merits. Be that as it may, policy and legislation was very clear. Each case needed to be reviewed.
Minister Motsoaledi felt that no child should be hampered from going to school due to not having a birth certificate. A clear policy in this regard was needed. He would discuss the matter with Members of Executive Committees (MECs). It was a complex matter which had to be looked into. The DHA would look into the matter of bribes at the Port Elizabeth office. He asked that members provide the DHA with details of cases that they encountered. The policy of the DHA was to be child friendly but even this was abused. He understood that DNA testing was expensive and that the merits of each case needed to be looked at. The DHA could not foot the bill for each and every DNA test.
Ms L Tito (EFF) asked how the DHA documented children who were not citizens of SA. She was aware of a case where both the mother and grandmother of the child were South African but the child had no documents.
Mr D Moela (ANC) commended the DHA for a job well done. He understood that the quarterly target of having the request for accreditation for possible bidders to be published had not been achieved. He appreciated the reasons given for it not being achieved but said that no detail was given on the remedial action that was planned.
Mr Maake was pleased that the DHA understood the problems that were out there. However the Committee would from time to time appreciate a report back from the DHA on their efforts in addressing the problems. What happened in the case where an illegal immigrant passed away. Did SA repatriate the body? Was it the responsibility of the DHA? He asked whose responsibility it was.
Mr Mavuso replied that when an illegal immigrant passes away DHA would allow the body to leave SA. The family of the deceased would make arrangements with an undertaker. It all depended on the circumstances of the case.
Mr Mckay added that when a foreigner died in SA the DHA involved consular services of the deceased’s country of origin. The nationality of the deceased would be checked.
Minister Motsoaledi stated that when a foreign national died the Department of Health was involved. The Department of Health also provided documentation that was needed. Verification of the identity of the deceased was also needed. It was a very complex matter.
Ms Van der Merwe understood that it was difficult to fill the 261 vacancies at level 7. She appreciated the explanation given on the Johannesburg city centre matter and that there were rules that applied to persons operating a business. It was true that various departments had a role to play. What type of integration was there on the side of government? She asked what the thinking of government was about bringing everyone to book. According to information that she had received most of the asylum seeker applications were from Bangladesh. The figure sat at 28 000. What was the reason for the figure being so high? Bangladesh after all had economic growth higher than SA.
Mr Hollamby stated that the DHA has been un-funding posts that had become vacant since 2016. He said that funds had been transferred from goods and services to compensation of employees.
Minister Motsoaledi stated that the DHA belonged to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster. This was where all the planning took place. The Cluster had met after the Johannesburg city centre incident. It was agreed to meet with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), SARS and other relevant stakeholders to discuss issues. Meetings had even taken place with local government. It was a joint exercise. He was not sure about the 28 000 Bangladeshi figure. According to 2018 figures for the top ten asylum seeker applications from countries, Bangladesh sat at 3040 applications with only one application being successful. The highest number of applications was from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) which was 4014 with only 638 being successful. Other figures were Somalia with 1005 applications with 362 being successful, Pakistan 1002 applications with no successes, Nigeria at 948 with no successes and India at 418 with no successes. It was thus not true that every asylum seeker application was successful. As previously stated there was an appeal process if an application was unsuccessful. Matters became complex when there were fraudulent marriages.
Minutes dated 2 July 2019 for a meeting held at 9.30 was adopted as amended. Minutes for the same day for a meeting held at 11.00 am was adopted unamended. Minutes for a meeting held on 9 July 2019 was also adopted unamended.
The meeting was adjourned.