DHA, IEC & GPW 2020/21 Special Adjustment Budget; with Minister and Deputy Minister

Home Affairs

07 July 2020
Chairperson: Adv B Bongo (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, (National Assembly) 7 July 2020

Media Statement: Committee Commends IEC on Progress in Preparing for Local Government Elections 

The Department of Home Affairs, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) and Government Printing Works, presented their COVID-19 induced adjustment budgets to the Committee. Despite National Treasury instructing the Department to refund R562 million to it, the Department did not anticipate the budget cut to impact the core of its work. With the budget cut, the Department took a targeted approach which would have minimal effect on its annual performance and strategic plans. The Department would also absorb the budget cut by taking funds from initiatives that could be postponed until 2021, such as not purchasing uniforms and from travel and housing expenses – as there were no planned travels for the remainder of the year. The Department could still fill essential positions that had become vacant.

Government Printing Works, it being a revenue generating entity, said that it did not need to cut its baseline. The effect of Covid-19 would, however, still be felt on the estimated sales numbers of GPW, as the production of items such as passports and IDs had decreased.

The Independent Electoral Commission was making strong progress and also looking at electronic voting in preparation for the very important local government elections to be held in 2021. The Committee agreed that e-voting would increase electoral process efficiencies, especially given that such technology had the potential to limit election costs and improve operational efficiencies.

Members of the Committee supported the Commission securing funds to purchase new Voter Management Systems, which would be crucial in ensuring successful local government elections in 2021. The Committee was confident that the Commission would obtain the requisite support from the Home Affairs Department and National Treasury to undertake this initiative, as it was vital to ensure credible elections.

The Members were worried about the impact of budget cuts on the Commission’s outreach activities.  Members acknowledged that certain services needed to be altered and called for a re-imagined and expanded stakeholder engagement mechanism using conventional media and social media. They noted that every attempt must be made to actively foster understanding and involvement in the democratic processes especially amongst the youth.

Members asked whether the money put aside for the purchase of Personal Protection Equipment would be enough or more money might be needed. On the R52 million currently spent on the Lindela Detention Centre, Members asked: now that the contract is coming to an end, what are the projected savings to be made at the end of this contract? 

Members also asked what plans were in place towards assisting SA citizens overseas to apply for a passport now that the issuing of passport was suspended because of the pandemic. Are there plans to renew or extend the validity of passports of SA citizens abroad?

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the virtual meeting, thanking the Minister and Deputy Minister for also attending. He reminded everyone that for the sake of public safety, wearing of a mask was now mandatory in public spaces and everyone should adhere to the regulations. He paid tribute, on behalf of the Committee, to all South Africans that had lost their lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He outlined the agenda for the meeting: an adjustment budget for the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and entities. After the Finance Minister had presented the adjustment budget, it became necessary then for the various departments to adjust their budget cuts and increases, which had ultimately affected the departments’ Annual Performance Plans (APPs) and performance targets. The presentation should mainly therefore focus on adjusted targets in the APP and how these would affect the overall strategic plans.

Mr M Chabane (ANC) said that in the previous meeting, some Members had raised the issue of corrupt practices against some Members of this Committee who were ANC Members. Members had therefore requested the Chairperson to act, and he promised to refer the matter to the legal division of Parliament. This matter had to be raised again because it had taken some time now and Members would like to know what was done.

The Chairperson responded that this meeting was specifically called for the adjustment budget of the DHA. This matter of corruption was receiving urgent attention; Members should be aware that when allegations of this nature were made without being substantiated, then an apology might be in order. However, the Committee Secretary was asked to prepare a report regarding this matter for Members by the next Committee meeting.

Minister’s opening remarks

The Minister thanked Members for the invitation and confirmed that the Finance Minister had written to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and instructed that R562m be returned back to National Treasury because of the COVID-19 pandemic that was seriously impacting on government finances. The DHA would, in this presentation, illustrate how it went about cutting this amount from its budget to raise this sum.  Government Printing Works (GPW) did not receive such a letter from Treasury but the Minister of Public Service and Administration wrote to all of his department’s entities for a review of their APPs. In this spirit, GPW adjusted its budget and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) also did the same.

Department of Home Affairs on its Adjustment Budget

Mr Gordon Hollamby, Chief Financial Officer, DHA, stated that National Treasury required of DHA to contribute R562 million in the current financial year. The DHA had convened an urgent Budget Review Committee meeting on 04 June 2020. The first approach was to cut 17% across all branches, including earmarked funds. Branches were given an opportunity to review their baselines. The Department reconvened the Budget Review Committee on 07 June 2020 and considered a more targeted approach.

Targeted Approach

Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, the Department adopted a targeted approach to the budget cuts. In this regard, the Department targeted budget items where no contractual commitments were made (Passenger Name Record); no new staff appointments were made (Compensation of Employees); where upgrades and improvements could be delayed (POE infrastructure and DRP); where service delivery was least affected (accommodation, travel and subsistence, uniforms; ID for Africa); where payments can be delayed (property).

Impact of targeted Approach

-Not treating all branches and/or projects the same (17%)-Impact could be measured-Implementation Passenger Name Recognition (PNR) delayed to 2021/22 – no contractual commitment-Improvement of Ports of Entry (POE) infrastructure delayed to 2021/22-Property: no new projects, accruals and interest charges-Uniforms: no procurement in 2020/21-ID for Africa: delayed to 2021/22-Disaster Recovery Plan: delayed to 2021/22-Travel, accommodation, venues & facilities, catering, entertainment: unlikely to operate in the same extent as in the past due to the current COVID environment. Any travel, use of outside venues, catering and entertainment needed, would have to be funded by the branch from internal reprioritizations.-Compensation of Employees (CoE): all posts vacated as at 01 April 2020 were funded; the CoE had to be managed carefully.-No carry-through in outer year medium-term strategic framework to appoint additional staff. Besides S&T, venues & facilities, catering and entertainment, no other cuts on contractual commitments, projects or operations such as: furniture; machinery and equipment; fleet; day-to-day maintenance; cleaning services; security services; risk management; and training.

Impact of targeted approach on Strategic and Annual Performance Plan

COVID-19 had a far bigger and more immediate impact on the APP and operations because of limited number of officials at work, limited service offerings, reduced working hours, closure of offices and travel restrictions.

Government Printing Works (GPW) on its adjustment budget

The GPW CFO presented the entity’s amended budget key considerations as follows:


Production of passports would be decreased to 0% of original budget for April, May and June. Production of passports would be decreased to 10% of original for July, August and September.

Production of passports decreased to 40% of original budget for the rest of the financial year.


Smart IDs

Production of smart IDs would decrease to 10% of original budget for April, May and June.

Production of passports would decrease to 33.33% of original budget for July, August and September.

Production of passports would decrease to 50% of original budget for the rest of the financial year.


A4 Paper

A4 Paper decreased to 40% of original budget for the next six months.



The budget remained unchanged.

Contract Printing

Increased by R120m due to capacity issues forecasted.

COVID-19 expenses till date amounted to R1 977 955.


Ms A Khanyile (ANC) appreciated the adjustment budget of DHA. She said that it was understood that the DHA was offering limited services to the public, and it still had some officials sitting at home while receiving their salaries. Is the Department going to consider opening some of its offices on Saturdays in order to accommodate more services? This way, the money paid to them could be justified. The Members of the public were fed up with DHA and some foreign nationals were complaining that they could not get back to their countries; some could not renew their visas; South African citizens were also complaining that they could not receive their identity documents and their kids’ birth certificates. When is DHA going to offer more services as it was presently only able to render specific services?

In the budget, there was a section on uniforms for staff. Would the Department reconsider allocating that budget cut on uniform procurement to training staff on customer care? SA citizens had issues with DHA customer care services. Complaints were flooding in from the public that they were getting no joy speaking to officials from DHA. Some were indicating that these officials were outrightly rude to them. These matters had been escalated to the Deputy Director-General who was yet to respond. When are the national borders going to be re-opened? The GPW had assisted in dispatching some documents under its care to various offices. Are all passports printed before lockdown dispatched to the relevant offices?

Ms L van der Merwe (IFP) agreed that the explanation given by the Department on how it would deal with the budget cut was sensible. The budget cuts were unfortunate as DHA could hardly afford a cut this time when the local government elections were just a few months away, even in the midst of service delivery issues as well. When will the revised medium-term strategic framework and APP be tabled to Parliament and this Committee? 

On reduced revenue being experienced by DHA, she asked about the fines being owed to it by the airline companies, for carrying undocumented migrants. How much has been collected in the last 12 months? Will these fine collections be stepped up going forward? What measures are being implemented on catching up with lost working hours due to the closure occasioned by COVID-19? In the light of budget cuts, how much is DHA spending on communications? Why is the Department using eNCA as a medium of adverts when it could have used SABC and Facebook, which could have reduced the cost of the adverts?

Will DHA launch any investigations with regards to the strikes by the truck drivers who are complaining that undocumented migrants are taking their jobs?

Mr A Roos (DA) thanked the Minister and his team for the presentation and thanked DHA for helping homeless people. It was devastating to see such a significant budget cuts being demanded from Treasury. There was also R22 million put aside for PPE; will this money be enough for PPE or could another amount be needed? On legal fees and costs in the first quarter, can we the get indication if that has gone down a lot? What impact will that have on savings on expenses?

There was target in the APP on rolling out border management targets and rolling it out to four points of entry; are there plans to meet this target? If not, could this budget be relocated to other targets? On R52m currently spent on the Lindela Detention Centre and that contract coming to an end, what are the projections in terms of savings at the end of this contract?

He noted that the smart ID card printing in July 2020 was on a one-third capacity. Is this reduction as a result of people’s inability to apply for this service? On passports, it was projected that it would start to be processed only from October; this would surely leave people whose passports were expiring in a bad situation. What are the plans in place towards assisting SA citizens overseas to apply for a passport? Any plans to renew or extend the validity of their passports?

On R12 million distributable to Treasury, why are these funds being transferred to Treasury when GPW is projecting a loss of R80m? Surely one would only transfer this kind of money if he were making a profit. Could the projected building project of GPW be postponed for a year to avoid a loss for the entity? The general economic outlook of SA projected a contraction for some years; this would affect the five-year plan as well. Is this being considered and how exactly will it affect the plan, especially the passenger name recognition system? What about the co-funding plan of this system between the economic and security clusters? Is it still on the table? On visa extensions to 31 July, should we expect an announcement of this deadline soon?

Mr J McGluwa (DA) said that there was no place in the world than Parliament to have robust engagements. Members were allowed to engage robustly as long as no one’s freedom was being impeded and it was within the rules. He noted that only certain Members were given the opportunity to speak. He hoped that the opportunity for this adjustment of budget would not lead to a power grab. The main reason for the collapse of DHA was because it had become a dumping site. The Chairperson of this Committee was out on bail for corrupt practice; the Minister deployed here was a Former Minister in a Provincial Parliament; another leader here had been fired while in the airlines sector. As leaders here, Members should step up and lead the DHA. When it comes to this budget, the warranted interventions must be undertaken.

Ms L Tito (EFF) asked for some examples of deleted targets in the budget.

Mr M Chabane (ANC) said that there was no sign that any Member was being intimidated. He welcomed the presentations and the aligned programmes in line with budget cuts.

He said that it was pity that there were budget cuts at a time DHA had a lot of backlogs. Given the pandemic induced challenges, DHA would be limited in its operations; this was sure to invoke complaints from the public. The regulations enforced would have implications. He was also grateful to the Department for attending to all the challenges this Committee had presented, received from the public. The DHA should also be proactive to always respond to concerns raised by the public on its staff attitude in terms of customer relations.  What will be the impact on the border post infrastructure given the current budget cuts? On ICT that impact on air services, given this budget cuts, what will be the turnaround plans towards dealing with the challenges that it presently has?


Mr Jackson McKay, DHA’s Acting Director-General, in response to DHA considering opening its offices on Saturdays during the lockdown, said that this could only be reviewed when there was a change in the lockdown level; this matter was also still being negotiated at the bargaining council with the unions.

On re-allocation of money from union purchase to customer training, he said that the budget cut did not, in any way, affect the training budget; it was intact and staff training on customer care would continue.

He said that national boarders could only be reopened once the lockdown was at the lowest level, due to COVID-19 related risks emanating from international travel. On when the amended APP would be tabled, he indicated that the Department received a note on the previous day, from Parliament, requesting that departments table their amended APPs by 08 July 2020. DHA’s updated amended plans would be tabled on the date specified as soon as they approved by the Minister.

On fines collected from airlines during this period, he said that the correct amounts would be provided to the Committee as soon as possible, so too would the expenditure on adverts and communications. Budget cuts did not include PPE procurements and the CFO would expound on that as well as the projected savings on the Lindela Detention Centre.

On visa extensions for foreigners that would come to an end in July 2020; he indicated that this was being reviewed and the Minister would make a policy pronouncement soon on the matter.

He said that the one-stop border post infrastructure project would not be affected by the budget cuts. No cuts were made on the ICT programmes.

Mr Hollamby further explained that the current budget for PPE was R90m; money had already been taken from travel and subsistence before the imposition of the budget cuts and all the money taken away from there was what was being used for PPE.

On the Lindela Detention Centre, he said that in the long run, once the current contract ended in November 2020, the Department expected to see significant savings from there. If invoices to GPW were not settled, it would increase DHA accruals at year’s end but not necessarily on operations because Public Service would have paid the service providers and landlords.

On passenger name recognition and whether it would be co-funded by other sectors in security cluster, he said that the R18m received from Treasury came from SAPS. It was already an allocation made by Treasury from savings from other departments.

Ms Alinah Fosi, Acting CEO, GPW, confirmed that all the passports and IDs printed before the lockdown had been dispatched to DHA offices for distribution. In terms of reduction to GPWs’ baseline, she said that this would depend on DHA opening the applications for IDs and passports to the public. The projections made were routed on those new applications coming through when the lockdown was eased.

On why money is being moved to Treasury when the GPW was projecting a loss, she explained that the masterplan project was a multi-year project dependent on external entities like the Public Works Department (DPW). The CFO could better elaborate on that.

The GPW CFO added that in the current budget, DPW would not be distributing any money to the Treasury in the light of projected losses; the information that was provided today was therefore incorrect. He apologised for that incorrect info. He explained that the masterplan was a multi-year project and the money of the project was already in the bank. The observations made were valid because in the event that the DPW found itself in financial difficulty, it might be delayed. However, all the projections at the moment points that a delay was unlikely.

The Deputy Minister said, in answering on the reduction in operational capacity, everyone was operating in abnormal times due to the pandemic. As for DHA, it had to thread a balance between saving lives and offering services. The Department was rotating offices that had been closed because of COVID-19. Even in this situation, some services had been increased through volunteering activities and staff members showed understanding in this regard, in areas that needed capacity. The staff members had been great in using the mobile units to render services to the public in areas of high volume. Even VFS had recently opened for collections of processed immigration permits but the priority was to ensure public safety. Adverts were important so people could know what services were available so that the unnecessarily traffic was not increased in DHA offices and the advert spend would be communicated to the Committee. It was not only TV that was being used for these adverts; local radio stations, social media platforms and other medium were also being utilised.

The Minister asked the Members to understand the situation faced by all countries in the world at present. It was not that DHA just woke one day and stopped rendering some services. The world was facing a draconian virus that did not adhere to any rules and was still spreading. DHA was striking a delicate balance between lives and livelihood. Such a balance was not easy because whichever side was chosen affected the other. As the President said, government was trying to follow a risk-based approach.

He said that the issue of Saturday had been answered numerous times before and the Department had told the Committee that this issue was in the bargaining chamber.

On the question about opening borders, he responded that this virus was dictating SA’s response as it was the rest of the world. On re-issuing and replacement of birth certificates, he said that the service had always being available in all DHA offices. 

On the strike by truck drivers, he indicated that meetings were held within the last 48 hours, by officials and some Ministers from different clusters. The Minister of Labour would brief DHA and the nation of the outcome of those meetings in due course. The issue here was why an employer should employ an undocumented migrant as this was illegal. That was the central issue in the dispute and it was alleged that some companies employed 100% foreign nationals.

Independent Electoral Commission Adjustment Budget presentation

Mr Glen Mashinini, Chairperson of IEC, introduced the IEC delegates and thanked the Committee for the invitation to the meeting. He reiterated that the pandemic continued to cause disruptions in every walk of life, including the IEC operations. This impact had been felt since March 2020 and would remain so, leading up to the 2021 elections. The commission had also adjusted its budget like other institutions to help the country at this hour of need. The arrangement reached with Treasury was premised on the fact that the election preparation and execution would not be compromised in any way. The IEC identified the less risky areas. The situation was difficult and plans made had to be very flexible because of the pandemic.

Mr Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer, IEC, said that Treasury instructed the IEC to reduce its budget by R25 million. The presentation would highlight where those reductions were made. It had to be clarified from the onset that this financial year was for election preparations. The constitution mandated IEC to deliver an election in the next financial year. The budget was done in such a way that elections were not impaired. The cuts were instituted in such a way that the core business of the IEC would not be jeopardised. Despite the cuts, the entity’s four programmes were maintained as reported in April 2020.

Ms Dawn Mbatha, CFO of IEC, indicated that the strategic plan and the APP had been revised due to the COVID 19 pandemic, its related restrictions and budget cuts. The following factors had been considered in formulating this:

-A consultative process held in the 2018/2019 period;

-The National Development Plan 2030 and the integrated development planning in the public sector;

-The revised framework for strategic plans and APPs-an environmental analysis was performed noting innovations in the digital age and impact on electoral democracy;

-Increased litigation on electoral processes;-economic and fiscal climate in the Republic of South Africa;-the imperatives for the IEC to deal with extant and future challenges in the electoral process;

Programme one: Administration

The objective of this programme was to achieve the strategic outcome of strengthening institutional effectiveness at all levels of the organisation. It also provided the overall strategic management of the Electoral Commission, as well as centralised support and financial management services.

Programme two: Electoral Operations

This programme was for managing the delivery of free and fair elections by striving for excellence at voting station level; ensuring accessibility and suitability of voting facilities and processes; managing results; maximising electoral justice for all stakeholders in the electoral process; enhancing the credibility of the voters’ roll; ensuring compliance with legal prescripts; and continuously improving the legislative framework.

Programme three: Outreach

This programme was created to inform and engage citizens and stakeholders in electoral democracy. It fostered participation in electoral democracy by:-Providing civic and democracy education on a continuous basis; -Voter and balloting education as may be required by each election; -Strategic and thought leadership on matters pertaining to electoral democracy; -Broadening our research agenda and issuing publications; -Increasing visibility through proactive consultation, effective communication, and presence among the IEC’s stakeholders and communities; -Facilitating platforms for political dialogue;-Cultivating an environment conducive for the holding of free and fair elections; and constantly engaging the media.


Programme four: Party Funding

This programme focused on the strategic outcome of contributing to the enhancement of transparency in elections and party funding. The programme managed party funding and donations in compliance with legislation, and strengthened cooperative relationships by providing consultative and liaison platforms between the EIC and political parties and candidates, using systems, people and processes that were sustainable. It also provided effective management of the registration of political parties and processing of the nomination of candidates for various electoral events.


Budget per programme

Programme one:

The following projects relating to its indicators were affected by the budget cuts:

ICT hardware refresh and platform upgrade

Additional funding requested from National Treasury for the cyclical ICT refresh and platform upgrade, which was initially planned to commence in 2016/17, was not approved and the project was therefore delayed and reduced in order to be accommodated from reprioritisations within baseline budget allocations.


Implementation of organisational review

The IEC was unable to implement the full result of an organisational review conducted in 2017 due to a lack of funding. The organisation’s permanent staff structure was currently only funded for 90% of the posts.


Staff Training and Development

Past and current budget constraints led to a reduction in the funds available for skills development and training of permanent staff within the organisation.

Programme two:

The following projects relating to indicators in programme two had been affected by the budget cuts:


Implementation of new Voter Management Devices (VMD)

Due to resource constraints, the planned procurement and implementation of new VMDs was delayed and was not in place for the 2019 national and provincial elections as initially planned. Although additional funding had since been secured, it remained to be seen if available budget would be enough for the actual cost of the VMDs. The submitted bids were currently being evaluated. This item was mission critical for the successful delivery of 2021 local government elections.

Appointment and Funding of Electoral Staff

Due to funding pressures, the IEC had not been able to give inflationary increases to electoral staff appointed for registration and election events. The last rates adjustment was ahead of 2016 local government elections. The period of employment for other fixed-term contract staff had been decreased by one month for the 2021 local government elections to accommodate reduced budgets.

Programme three:

The following projects relating to indicators in programme three had been affected by the budget cuts:

Appointment and funding of Municipal Outreach Coordinators and Democracy Education Fieldworkers

Due to funding pressures, the Electoral Commission had not been able to give inflationary increases since 2016 to fixed-term staff appointed during elections to perform outreach activities. The period of employment for this category of staff also had to be decreased by one month for the 2021 local government elections to accommodate budget cuts. Furthermore, requested staff increases could not be accommodated.

General impact on this programme

Reduced budgets affected the ability of the organisation to fully fund other initiatives to actively promote and foster awareness and participation in electoral processes.

Programme four:

The following projects relating to indicators in programme four were affected by the budget cuts:


Recruitment of Staff in the Political Parties Funding Unit Delayed 

The recruitment of staff in the Political Parties’ Funding Unit were slowed in order to get a more realistic sense of the volume and intensity of work in this unit. 


Represented Political Parties’ Fund Not Affected

Current allocations to represented political parties were not affected by budgets.


Additional funding pressures

The Constitutional Court had recently declared that the Electoral Act was unconstitutional in so far as requiring individuals to contest national and provincial elections only through membership in political parties. The Court had provided Parliament with 24 months to revise the legislation and the IEC stood ready to offer technical assistance into this process to help enhance SA’s electoral system.



Mr McGluwa asked the IEC to come back to the Committee with a report on the demarcation of provincial borders that would affect the elections. He was not pleased with the arrogance of the DHA Minister towards the Committee.

Ms Van der Merwe asked about the IEC outreach programmes which were now reduced to zero because of the pandemic. The Committee had raised the need for voter education and reaching young people, informing them of the importance of voter right. With this education now reduced to zero, what plans are in place to make use of more traditional media, even online educational programmes, in order to replace the face-to-face engagements?

What would be the COVID-related costs estimates in relation to preparing for and conducting the 2021 local government elections? The e-voting pilot project: what is the estimated budget savings should this be implemented? She had heard that the two-weekend voter education would be on if there would be no further budget cuts; what are the innovative measures envisaged to ensure this voter weekends are a success?

She recounted that the IEC had recently hosted a conference at the CTICC specifically on how fake news was a threat to credible elections. Considering the budget cuts, how can the Department contribute towards successfully addressing these problems? How can the DHA grow its footprint online?

Ms Khanyile was still unhappy on the assistance received from officials from DHA. She said that she was not attacking them but was stating the facts. Officials were not responding to Members’ requests for assistance. The cases that she had raised with them were not responded to even when follow-up emails were sent. This was very frustrating and the Minister should help.

On IEC, what are the estimated costs for the new voter management devices? How much longer will it take to conclude the procurement process before the elections next year? These devices will be used for online voters roll; will they be able to detect if a voter voted twice?

Ms Tito was concerned about the bye-elections and the statement made by the CEO that no court order would stop the entity from organising it. How many bye-elections were set aside by the courts due to the pandemic? What measures are in place to carry them out? Is IEC ensuring that budget cuts do not hinder staff training?

Mr Chabane requested clarification on the IEC’s new initiative of registering voters without addresses. What informed this change of thought and what will be the financial implication of this? The IEC’s clean audit was positively acknowledged. What impact will the budget cuts have on the preparations towards the elections next year? If the pandemic persists till 2021, will it impact the IEC’s preparations for the elections?

Mr Roos commended the IEC for being on track for the 2021 elections despite the uncertainties, and for encouraging remote working so that service delivery continued. The Voter Management Devices (VMDs) were very critical for IEC’s ability to do its work. Is there anything that is happening that could put the elections in jeopardy? If there was, then the Committee must be informed immediately. On the ConCourt order and the cost on the ICT infrastructure, he asked if those costs would not come into play after the legislative amendments. What portion of the costs will occur within the next six to 12 months in relation to this?


Mr Mashinini thanked the Members for their kind comments. He said that demarcation was certainly an important matter and indicated that the commission would start preparing some presentation, when time allowed – to update Members on progress made thus far.  It sure would have an impact on the work of IEC, especially in the coming local government elections.

Mr Mamabolo further added to the demarcation issue. He pointed out that the IEC had been in contact with the municipal demarcation board which was the authority created for that purpose. The board had initially indicated that it would hand over final wards to the IEC in August 2020, but came back to report that given the COVID impact, this was no longer possible. The board had arranged with IEC that final ward would be received in two instalments: firstly from four provinces in September 2020 and, secondly, an instalment from the five remaining provinces at the end of November 2020. This would have an impact on timelines for election preparations. The IEC would be available should the Members desire its work programmes to be presented to the Committee.

On the reduced outreach programmes, what was reduced was the face-to-face delivery of civic and democracy education. As preparations intensified, social media and radio would be utilised more to deliver the civic and democracy education. Even in the absence of COVID-19, young people were ordinarily receiving their news and information via mobile devices. As a result, IEC strategies were aligned to deliver the aforementioned education on social media platforms rather than on the traditional workshops model.

On e-voting pilot project; IEC was in the process of writing a project proposal which would include the quantification of possible savings; this info was not yet available. The current plan still included two registration weekends but circumstances may change from fiscal position, progression or trajectory of the pandemic. IEC, in consultation with all parties represented in Parliament, would continually look at the prevailing circumstances.

He explained that since 2019 a programme, whereby the public could complain about incidence of fake news, was initiated and a committee was set up to evaluate such complaints. Presently no bye-elections had been set aside by the courts. What was done was to request the electoral court to extend the period that bye-elections must be held. Currently, 62 bye-elections had been postponed by the electoral courts.

The Minister appealed to Members that DHA and his own office were always open to them to address any matters emanating from the public. Should Members also not get pleasure in dealing with DHA officials, they should call him directly.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister and the Deputy Minister for always availing themselves to appear before the Committee.  

The meeting was adjourned.


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