Provincial managers of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) in North Province, Free State and KwaZulu Natal (KZN), briefed the Committee on the state of the provinces for the 2018/19 financial year. All three provinces provided details of their performance in respect of civic services, immigration services, finance and supply chain matters, human resources, achievements and challenges.
Key performance areas covered included the number of births registered in the 2018/19 financial year; the number of Smart Identity documents (IDs) issued; employers and individuals charged for contravening immigration laws; undocumented foreign nationals being directly deported or transferred to the Lindela repatriation centre; and fraudulent marriages and marriages of convenience cases being finalised.
The provinces stated that they achieved their annual targets and also identified several challenges in relation to their annual performances. These ranged from a problem of aligning the population size to the budget, late registration of births, non-alignment of office infrastructure to departmental specification was still a challenge, shortage of staff for the inspectorate units for detection, arrest and deportation of illegal migrants, a lack of mobile offices solutions to reach out clients in far flung areas, inadequate bandwidth and poor network at health facilities for births registration, system instability in live capture offices, acquisition of alternative office accommodation in general, long queues of clients awaiting services, to slow pace in constructing office buildings for DHA.
Members expressed mixed feelings about their performances. Some were impressed by their work whereas others were not satisfied with the performance of the provincial departments, which were responsible for delays and backlogs in the delivery of their services. They were to blame for failing to have a clear plan to address the long queues and to serve the people in all provinces. Provincial managers were asked what they were doing to address the on-going issue of off-line system, shortage of staff, absenteeism, and indigent clients who could not come to offices because they could afford services. On the issue of connectivity, members felt that the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) was to blame and to be accounted for. Members asked what informed the annual targets of provinces or methodology applied to arrive on annual targets.
Members considered the draft Third Term Committee Programme and, after a short discussion, resolved that Members should re-look at the draft and thus discuss it in the next meeting.
Acting Chairperson opened the meeting by accepting an apology from Adv. B Bongo (ANC) and laying down the procedure of taking Committee through brief reports with a view to have enough time for briefing the Committee and thus bringing the meeting to closure on time. He called on the national leadership of the Department of Home Affairs to introduce the Department delegation.
Mr Thomas Sigama, Acting Deputy Director General: Civic Services introduced the delegation.
After introduction, the Acting Chairperson noted and accepted apologies from Mrs L Tito (EFF) and the Deputy Minister, Mr Njabulo Nzuza.
Mr J McGluwa (DA) sought clarity on whether Members formed a quorum.
Mr Eddie Mathonsi, Committee Secretary responded that the meeting could be held if there were four members present and a quorum of six members was required if a resolution had to be taken.
Mr McGluwa stated that Members from the ruling party usually attended meetings late or departed early and this disrupted cooperation between Members. Both opposition members and ruling party members had to work together. He called for Acting Chairperson to be firm with members of the ruling party and thus to ensure that they fully participated in a meeting.
Status of the North West Province
Mr N Shabalala, Acting Provincial Manager: North West, took the Committee through the presentation. The presentation would provide the Committee with the provincial overview and footprint, 2018/19 provincial performance, overview analysis and finance and support services. In his introduction, he stated that the province had an estimated net migration of 131 081 (205 099 out-migrants & 336 180 in-migrants) as per the estimated provincial migration streams for the period 2016 – 2021.
With regard to provincial management and administration, he stated that Ngaka Modiri Molema District did not have proper office accommodation in Ratlou Local Municipality where the Department could have a modernisation system. In terms of progress and possible registration of births and deaths in Ratlou Local Municipality, the province acquired space at Madibogo and had a staff complement of two officers servicing the public daily at the said small office as well as at Ratlou Community Health Centre.
Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality was the most economically depressed in the province and lacked the Department’s presence in two local municipalities. In order to establish DHA foot print in these municipalities, the Department was able to connect online Birth Registration System at Bloemhof, Christiana and Schweizer-Reneke in Lekwa-Teemane and Mamusa Local Municipality respectively. The province also made use of the local municipalities to ferry clients to apply for Smart ID cards at Vryburg or Wolmaranstad offices. Proposals had been made to connect Taung Office for modernisation during the second quarter. Other necessary plans were in progress to make sure the server room was built. The District still remained a developmental node in the province.
With respect to Bojanala Platinum District, the previous demarcation resulted in a gap of service delivery in Moretele Local Municipality. Space had been secured at Leretlhabetse/ Lebotlwane Thusong Centre. The centre catered for birth registration. To address the problem of service accessibility in the Kgetleng River Local Municipality, the Province opened a small office in Swartruggens and five dedicated staff were appointed. This office was also taking care of the community living in and around Koster as well as surrounding farms. This office (Swartruggens) became live on 13th March 2019 and was officially opened by Dr Cwele, the then Minister of Home Affairs on the 30th April 2019.
Dr Kanneth Kaunda District was adequately covered and had an office in each local municipality.
In North West Province, the provincial department achieved eight out of the eight annual targets. It registered 53 841 births within 30 calendar days during the 2018/19 financial year. The annual target was 53 260 which the Province over achieved by 101% thus contributing positively to the National Population Register. The target for the province in 2019/20 financial year was 49 777. In 2018/19 financial year, 214 286 Smart ID Cards were issued to citizens 16 years of age and older. 163 employers in contravention of immigration law were detected and charged. 2116 transgressors in contravention of immigration were detected and charged. 170 undocumented foreigners were directly deported within 30 calendar days whereas 1015 illegal immigrants were transferred to Lindela within 20 calendar days for deportation. Two fraudulent marriages and marriage of convenience cases were detected and finalised. 1619 valid invoices were settled within 30 days of certification.
With regard to financial performance, Mr Shabalala stated that the budget was R171.4 million and thus actually spent R175 million, overspending 2% over the allocated budget. The expenditure for the first quarter of 2019/20 financial was R44.1 million, representing 24% of allocated budget totalling R182 million. The collected revenue was R44.6 million. Number of vehicles in the province was 87 and mobile offices were 11 of which five had been refurbished for smart card capability. The remaining six were earmarked for disposal. The total value of assets stood at R72.9 million.
Mr Shabalala took the Committee through challenges and noted that:
-There was a need for a second 3-ton truck for use by the inspectorate units for detection, arrest and deportation especially during joint operations in the Province.
-There was a lack of mobile solutions to reach out clients in far flung areas. The management had learned from the previous meeting of the 52 Countries that much had been done by some of those countries that attended “ID4Africa” e.g. Rwanda managed to issue Smart Id Cards to its 37 million citizens in 52 days because they make use of suite-case solution to reach out their clients in rural areas.
-There was inadequate bandwidth and poor network at health facilities. ADSL needed to be upgraded.
-No online fingerprint scanners were connected at health facilities.
-There was no DHA footprint in two municipalities.
-Connected health facilities were not fully optimised and thus required enhancement of IT equipment and network e.g. online verification system and ADSL.
-System instability in live capture offices required the department to secure a long-lasting solution.
-Acquisition of alternative office accommodation in general was very problematic in North West Province e.g. Rustenburg, Provincial offices.
-In the province there were only five state owned buildings that DHA occupied. Of the 22 offices, 17 were leased at a cost of approximately R 39 million per annum.
-Slow pace in constructing office buildings for Home Affairs e.g. Taung, Christiana and Itsoseng offices were recorded. High level intervention was required.
Status of the Free State Province
Mr Bonakele Mayekiso, Provincial Manager: Free State took the Committee through presentation, which focussed on introduction, vision and mission, management structure, footprint, birth registration within 30 days, smart ID Card applications, immigration services, finance, human resources and stakeholders.
Mr Mayekiso stated that the launching of Stakeholder Forums on the District and Local Municipalities had greatly improved the way of delivering services especially in rural areas. Monitoring and Evaluation of the departmental performance relating to DHA was at the centre of the Service Delivery Improvement Plan. The provincial department was operating in terms of the outcomes for the Minister and was targeting all rural areas to end the late registration of birth. In line with the department’s quest to increase access to DHA services the province was in the process of having additional channels at two identified banks (Public Private Partnership). The provincial department had staff complement of 50 Immigration officers, which were inadequate. Activities like the prevalence of the “Zama Zamas” which involved illegal migrants, especially in the Welkom area required recruitment of additional officers. These activities had multiple ripple effects on the infrastructure, social cohesion, etc.
Reporting on performance results on key targets, Mr Mayekiso stated that births registered by provincial department in 2018/19 financial year were 46 419, representing 97% of its target. A number of Smart ID card issued was 161 280, representing 103% of its target. The performance results were based on applications taken by 13 front offices. With regard to immigration services, 100% of detected employers in contravention of immigration law were charged. In 2018/19 financial year and the first quarter of 2019/20 financial year, 896 and 241 illegal immigrants were respectively deported directly, whereas 3002 and 267 illegal immigrants were respectively transferred to Lindela. Three and one fraudulent marriages were detected in 2018/19 and in the first quarter of 2019/20 financial year. With regard to immigration inspectorate, more officers (at least 30 officers) were required to be able to effectively manage the international migration in province. With regard to payment of invoices, 100% of valid invoices were settled within 30 days of certification.
Reporting on financial performance, Mr Mayekiso said that the collected revenue in 2018/19 financial year was R37.1 million. In the first quarter of 2019/20, the provincial department had collected R7.3 million. Whilst the total budget of the provincial department was R141.3 million, the actual expenditure was R147.8 million. R6.5 million was overspent, implying that the provincial department spent 105% of the budget. The total provincial department assets were valued at R74.8 million. A number of vehicles was 69.
With regard to the staff complacent, Mr Mayekiso stated that there was a moratorium which was in place and that some positions were not funded. A number of staff as at the end of July 2017 was 367. Whilst male staff members were 159, female staff members were 208.
With regard to counter corruption, Mr Mayekiso reported the following.
All modernised office had valid Threat Risk Analyses (TRAs).
-The most common threat is burglary.
-The Department was in the process of procuring CCTV cameras.
-There was a slow response from the Department of Public Works (DPW) on maintenance issues.
-The Department has monthly meetings with DPW usually after the meeting meters were resolved.
-There was private security during the day in all and in some office; however, during the night the risk was higher except one newly modernised office, situated in Ficksburg.
-The Departmental SCM processes to finalise a new contract for a Service Provider was still in progress.
-Two offices were broken into during the last financial year, loss to the value of R7 000 was incurred by DHA and private staff cell phones were taken during the armed robbery.
In Botshabelo, during the municipal strike a month ago windows were broken and the landlord is in the process of replacing the windows
Mr C Mncwabe, Provincial Manager: KZN, took the Committee through presentation, which focussed on introduction and background of the province, overview analysis, DHA mandate, provincial demarcation and organogram, predetermined objectives in terms of civic and immigration services, human resources management, financial management, counter corruption and security services and challenges and achievements.
In his introduction and background, he noted that the provincial department had a total number of 146 offices with the inclusion of mobile offices and hospitals. The staff establishment totalled to 633 and vacant post were in the process of being filled. KZN had eight Ports of Entry (POE) being sea, land and air which promoted access to global trade, migration and tourism. However, the POEs were reporting to IMS in the head office. The provincial department participated actively in the Operation Sukuma Sakhe stakeholder’s forum which sought to promote intergovernmental cooperation within the Province.
Reporting on performance results on key targets, Mr Mncwabe stated that the departmental province achieved seven out of the eight targets (88%) in 2018/19. The achieved targets included birth registration within 30 calendar days (139 056), Smart ID Cards applications received from citizens (383 040), the charging of the detected employers in contravention of immigration law (106), the charging of detected transgressors in contravention of immigration law (2385), direct deportations concluded within 30 calendar days (738), transfers of illegal immigrants to Lindela concluded within 20 calendar days (678), and the detected and finalised fraudulent marriages & marriage of convenience cases (53). Non-achieved target was the settlement of valid invoices settled within 30 days of certification.
Reporting on financial performance, Mr Mncwabe stated that the Auditor General’s audit for 2018/19 financial year indicated that the audit report had no material audit findings. The budget for 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial was R240.8 million and R265.2 million, respectively. As at 31 March 2019, the provincial department spent R251.6 million, representing 103% of the budget. The total vehicles of the provincial department were 118.
Reporting on counter corruption, Mr Mncwabe stated that there were 12 cases investigated and finalised in 2018/19 financial year and 10 cases investigated and finalised in the first quarter of 2019/20 financial year. High risk areas of corruption were birth registration and passport registration. Birth registration was a high-risk area and also fraudulent foreign birth registration was the most problematic area. Passport registration was also one of the high-risk areas. Syndicates composed of foreign nationals, South Africans and corrupt officials operate in our offices, the modus operandi being passport photo swap. Official and South Africans selling their identity have been arrested and charge of this offence.
Mr Mncwabe concluded by alluding to challenges. There was a problem of aligning the population size to the budget allocations and capacity still posed a challenge to provincial department. Late registration of birth was still problematic in areas of in three districts. Proper office infrastructure which was not aligned to departmental specification was still a challenge.
Mr McGluwa thanked presenters for their brief reports and acknowledged their hard work. He asked provincial managers when was last they reported to the Committee and to remind the Committee whether there were matters arising from the last meeting. He was impressed with the brief reports. He remarked that the provincial departments shared the same problems, inter alia, the system was offline, a moratorium on recruitments, inadequate staff members, and poverty-stricken clients who could not come to offices because they could afford services. He expressed his happiness about achievement of targets. He remarked that the issue of the system being off-lines should be accounted for by SITA. The SITA was causing problems to the society, coupled with inadequate staffing and inadequate funding. There was need an engagement with the Minister of Home Affairs about the funds. The Department was replete with various challenges, be it, in civic or immigration service. The achievement did not speak to the reality out there.
With regard to performance of KZN, he was concerned with the fact that the POEs was reporting to IMS: Head Office in Pretoria and a high number of cases of absenteeism. He was of the view that the POEs should have been reporting to the provincial office. Absenteeism was very huge. It was clear that the absenteeism (447 cases) – in additional to sick leave (213 cases) had serious impact on service delivery. This was a joke. With regard to disciplinary action, he commented that one official was suspended for one month. He wanted to know why it was a month suspension.
With regard to performance of Free State department, he sought clarity on deportation with respect to illegal immigrants transferred to Lindela. He had spoken to an asylum-seeker who told him that he could not be deported because when he got at Lindela, he would play dumb. How the department was ensuring that they were deported? How much was being paid for deportation. The question should apply to all provinces.
To the North West Province, he remarked that in September 2018, there was this case of Guptas in relation to citizenship. Can the North West advise the Committee on its role in granting citizenship to Gupta family? There were reports indicating that the Guptas were helping certain schools in that province. Some of these schools had the audacity of objecting to Members to visit them. Finally, he sought clarity on what unprotected strike meant.
Mr A Roos (DA) said that his questions were put to North West first. He sought clarity on mobile units whether they were operational and whether the department was following its client to serve them. Was the department taking services to the people? Were services affordable by clients? In issuing Smart ID cards, which strategy did Rwanda use to manage to issue Smart ID Cards to its 37 million citizens in 52 days? The annual targets dropped compared to the previous year and he wanted clarity on why the targets were dropped. He further sought clarity on whether the number of detected transgressors of immigration law included suspects. One could be suspected to be a transgressor and the findings might show that he or she was not a transgressor. Were these cases recorded? Finally, he asked what measures were put in place for two municipalities, which did not have DHA footprint, to have it.
With regard to performance of Free State province, he remarked that there were municipalities/districts reported not to have offices. How were people in these local municipalities being served? Referring to slide 17 dealing with issuance of smart ID cards, he sought clarity on how the province was addressing the backlog and how the province was addressing the challenges in issuing the smart ID cards. With regard to financial performance, he sought clarity on reasons why the collection of revenue dropped 3% off, on the lease agreements and money spent on leasing offices, and on whether the provincial department had considered cash management services.
With regards to performance of KwaZulu Natal Provinces, he sought clarity on slide 14 and asked why target for smart ID cards for 2018/19 financial year dropped, compared to the previous financial year. Poor clients were not collecting smart ID cards because they could not afford R140 and he asked whether the Department had considered waiver option for indigent clients. He further sought clarity on why too much application for leave was approved. He finally remarked that the Mail & Guardian had reported that KZN was worst in terms of service delivery.
Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) welcomed presentations. On KNZ’s performance, she remarked that offices of the Department were found in dangerous areas and some were not suitable to serve people and felt that the issue of connectivity could not have been a problem. There was a high vacancy rate at management level and she asked what the problem with filling them was. She recalled that there was an issue of electricity prior to elections and asked what happened. She recalled that people could queue for 7 hours without assistance because they were no electricity. She stated that 16 mobile offices were non-operational for two years and sought clarity on when they would operate again.
On the North West performance, she sought clarity on how transgression of immigration law was detected and on what basis the annual target was arrived. What were charges brought forward to employers and repeated offenders? Why only three marriages of convenience were detected? Was it due to the capacity of the province?
Ms T Kanyile (DA) sought clarity on how the Department was going to address the problem of long queues In most presentations, the number of Smart ID cards produced and issued was not clear. Yet, the number of smart ID cards collected and uncollected was not clear. Some power points were not numbered. Referring to mobile offices, she asked whether 11 mobiles offices were operational, non-operational or under refurbishment.
Referring to the Free State presentation, she remarked that Members had a different version from one the presenter used. Finally, she sought clarity on the permits issued to asylum-seekers and commented these permits were not recognised by service providers and business people in that they could, for example, be able to pay TV licence. SABC was suffering from insolvency and was seeking for the government to bail it out. And out there, there were huge number of asylum-seekers willing to pay for TV licence, but their documents were not accepted. She asked what could be done to ensure that every person adhered to the laws of the country.
Mr V Pambo (EFF) remarked that the Committee should have a template to be used by provincial departments so that members could get proper answers. He was of the view that it was difficult to understand the performance of provincial departments on the basis of their brief presentations. A brief report should be able to respond to essential questions and convince members on how they performed or how targets were arrived at. He asked how these targets were arrived at. Which was methodology used to decide on targets? The mission and vision were clear that the Department had a mandate to manage international immigration securely and efficiently. However, issues of porous border were not covered in some presentations. Presentations did not speak on issues of national security. Were offices secured enough to ensure that documents of citizens were safe? He did not agree with Members who commented that presentations were impressive. The question of vacancies that were not filled should be responded to by DHA. The Department greatly contributed to the xenophobic outbreak. It could not document nationals and foreign nationals. Illegal immigrants were at the centre of violence in the country.
The Acting Chairperson remarked that provincial managers should respond only to those questions falling in the framework of agenda.
Mr Shabalala responded that he was not in a position to respond to the Gupta family issue. Issue of citizenship was beyond his control and should be referred to the national office for any clarity. On two local municipalities, he stated that the provincial department was going there to collect applications and get them processed. Trucks for mobile offices had been refurbished and equipped with modern equipment and were still waiting for connection. With regard to issuance of Smart ID cards in Rwanda, he was not sure whether people paid or not. What matters was that the applications were captured in a short period of time.
On annual targets arrived at, he said the method used for previous financial year was the same used to arrive to annual targets. On the vacancies to be filled, he said that top positions which were vacant were not funded since 2014. On issues of imposing penalty on transgressors, he responded that penalty fees (i.e. fines) were charged individually. If an employer employed 10 illegal migrants, penalty fees of 10 people would be imposed. The department was seeking on how criminal charges could be levelled against employers. He said that marriage of convenience was very low because (i) it was disclosed by a spouse and (ii) the investigation took too long and (ii) it was reported when investigation was finalised. On the question of addressing long queues, he said that the provincial department introduced a ticket card which were given to clients; this was coupled with an appointment especially those who were not served. On the collection of smart ID cards, they were engaging with stakeholders to design a plan of how smart ID cards could be protected you. On the question of establishment of template, he responded that he would comply with it when it was developed and provided to him to be a guide of developing a brief presentation. On the xenophobic attacks, he said that it was difficult for him to say whether the provincial department contribute to it either directly or indirectly. An answer to this could be provided by the national department.
Mr Mayekiso remarked that the provincial department needed a Director for Civic Services and a Director for Migration so as to work efficiently. It could have been better if the structure of leadership included these two directors. There was a problem of having offices with manager or find a district office without a district manager. Some posts were not filled for more than three years and this gap was felt. On cash management, he agreed that it was a risk. People who collect money came once and where the revenue was not too big, they came twice a week. On the challenges and achievements, he agreed that a template was essential to guide them on how to report on these essential issues. With regard two districts without offices, he responded that the provincial department would like to open after analysis of people who would be accessing it. There was need of analysis of staff members, office equipment and the budget. The provincial departments served these areas with mobile offices. With mobile offices, there were no printers in that documents could not be printed. Only data were captured. The office in Moshoeshoe was very expensive – R6 million was paid per annum. DPW was negotiating for the department offices. It was struggling to resolve this issue. The office was not good for the department, but was the best office they had. On the revenue, money was made on passports, but not on smart ID cards. On fraudulent marriages, information mainly came from the national department when spouses applied for permanent resident permits. This was when they could investigate if marriage was genuine or not. The investigation took so long to finalise. Non-finalised cases were not reported. There were four cases which were still under investigation. Detection of illegal foreigners was very complex. One needed to go to factories or companies to see whether they employed illegal foreigners or one had to go to foreigners who were trading to check whether they were in the country legally and trading legally. In this light, it was difficult to state this quarter we would arrest 400 illegal immigrants as a target. Of problematic was that the court had to approve that they should be deported. Generally, annual targets were informed by the counters they had in offices. They could say, for example, ach counter could receive 20 applications per day.
Mr Mncwabe remarked that the KZN was the only province which referred to the POEs and indicated that the POEs were the responsibility of DHA. Officials working at POEs reported directly to national offices and however they were issues that they felt that the provincial office should assist. The assistance was provided per request. Referring to slide of absenteeism management, he responded that 447 PILIR cases did not literally mean 447 individuals. One individual could have four issues that he/she was grappling with. One individual might have a marital problem, a financial problem, an absenteeism problem, etc. When these issues were registered, they were registered as different cases. On the complaints, he noted that the provincial department received a lot complaint about the system. Complaints were received during peak period, in particular, school holidays. During this period, they experienced and influx of clients. In normal period, there was stability in the system. On the electricity, he responded that the issue was mitigated –because all offices were modernised and had generators, except Thabisa office. It was not modernised and had no generator. Some offices were not well equipped. On what informed the annual targets, he agreed with his colleague from Free State. On a huge number of leaves, he responded that there were, in certain circumstances, accruals of leaves. On the queues, he responded that there was a war on queues. On immigration targets, he agreed with the responses of his colleagues. On the template, he welcomed any template the Committee would design for them to use as a guide to develop a brief report.
Mr Pambo said that the Committee should discuss the brief presentations and sought clarity in what context there was gender gap and on whether moratorium applied to all provinces.
Ms Khanyile welcomed responses from provincial departments.
Ms van der Merwe sought clarity on restoration of mobile vehicles and praised the provincial departments for employing more woman than men and more people with disabilities than what were targeted.
Acting Chairperson thanked presenters and noted that the template would be designed.
Consideration and adoption of the Third Term Committee Programme
The Third Term Committee Programme was considered and, after a short discussion, the Committee resolved that members should re-look at the draft and to be discussed in the next meeting.