A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
HOME AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
7 March 2000
BUDGET BRIEFING WITH DIRECTOR GENERAL & MINISTER
Documents Handed Out:
Text of Director General's Presentation (Appendix 1)
Home Affairs National Information System (HANIS)
Text of Minister's Comments
Other relevant documents:
Draft Immigration Bill
Minister's "Media Week" Briefing
Chairperson: Mr A Mokoena (ANC)
The meeting had been scheduled as an opportunity for the Director General to make a presentation on a number of pertinent topics, including the Department budget, but the presence of the Minister was a late surprise as he had previously indicated his unavailability on this date. They were accompanied by several deputy directors general, who assisted in the presentation, and other departmental officials.
Director General Masetlha opened by remarking that the Department is responsible for providing "birth to death" services to its clientele, South African citizens, and that doing so is a tremendous challenge. Before moving on to the substance of the presentation, he added that the environment in which the Department currently operates contributes to the difficulties in delivering services, as the legacies of apartheid, world population mobility trends, and decreased Department resources combine to affect performance and complicate the process of transformation. Funding is a critical part of the equation, as new technology is needed in order to meet the demands on the Department.
A review of some of the "critical factors" identified in the presentation text included:
The Department currently has 100 border officers and 230 internal migration officers in permanent positions, who are supplemented by the use of "casual" employees. Unfortunately, the marked increases in passenger volumes at the international airports has led to problems in this staff complement effectively discharging its duties. Further, with the hiring moratorium, it is impossible to remedy this with adequate staffing.
Immigration Selection Boards
These are similarly understaffed (by 35%, when looking at 1995 volumes, which do not reflect recent increases in processing demands). This has created problems in efficiently processing permanent and temporary residency applications.
Volume had increased even before the recent Refugee Act, but the Department is having to cope with less staff due to the moratorium, attrition and other staff having taken severance packages.
The Director General noted that there are approximately 8 million illegal aliens in the country, whose presence is overwhelming the number of officials available to deal with them. Though roughly 180,000 are deported annually, at that rate it would take over 40 years to remove all illegal aliens - not taking into account others who will similarly come in, and recidivists.
Home Affairs National Information System (HANIS)
In a review of the Department's handling of "civic affairs", it was noted that dealing with citizen services such as issuance of identity documents, is as important as international migration issues. Because the bar-coded ID's are not completely secure, the Home Affairs National Information System (HANIS) is being brought in. HANIS features two prongs: an automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS), and a computer verifiable national identification card. The card can be either a "simple" one, used for identification purposes only, or a "smart" one, utilised for multiple functions (as described in the HANIS summary provided), and after consultation with private industry the Department has recognised that the latter might be preferable as a way to "stay ahead of the technology", and not bring in a system that will be somewhat outdated by the time of implementation.
Department officials stressed that no decision had yet been taken as to whether the HANIS card would be "simple" or "smart", pending consideration of all factors (including inter-governmental department input on the card's use in providing a variety of government services). They conceded that the "smart" card would be more expensive than the R1.1 billion budgeted for the "simple" version, bids for which have already been tendered. The "smart" card has yet to be put out to bid, but the HANIS project will move forward pending a determination on the type of card to be used. Issuance of the first HANIS cards remains targeted for the fourth quarter of 2001.
Departmental capacity and resources
There is an inter-dependent crisis in both capacity and resources. The Department has been consistently underfunded (with a more than R100 million gap annually between budget request and allocation), resulting in insufficient funds for offices and staffing domestically and abroad. This compromises the Department's ability to fulfil core functions (particularly since use of casual workers cannot effectively compensate for deficient levels of permanent staff).
The operations of the government printing works need to be updated (which is under this Department's control). Privatisation of these operations is an option as this is not a "core" function. Conversion to a "public enterprise" is also an alternative. It was noted that facilities modernisation is necessary, along with adequate staffing, which is lacking due to poor remuneration.
The Director General concluded the presentation by noting that the Department has recommended certain legislative amendments such as eliminating official usage of non-bar coded ID's for legal purposes. They requested the Committee's support in having them passed.
The Minister made a few closing comments (see the text supplied), focusing on the need for a cooperative approach by the Department and the Committee, and for the Committee to act as the Department's "liaison" to the public. They can inform people about the proposed Immigration Bill, the HANIS project, and about cooperative efforts with the IEC to supply bar-coded ID's so that all who are eligible can vote in this year's municipal elections (all of which he described as services "beyond the Department's core functions"). The Minister also noted that the Department needs restructuring, which entails making political policy decisions, and that the Director General can expect his full support in streamlining and modernising the Department's operations.
After supplying the Minister with minutes of the Committee's recent meetings, and stressing the need to "go beyond the mountains and over the rivers" to let the people know what's happening in this area, the Chair opened the floor for questions.
Mr Waters (DP) asked about the status of fast-tracking the permanent residency applications for non-resident spouses of South Africans, and whether interim work permits could be issued pending final action on those that have been part of the current processing backlog [see Minister's "Media Week" Briefing on this backlog]. He also asked why the Department is appealing the recent judicial ruling striking the requirement of the R10 000 payment related to such applications.
In response the Director General said that "there is no backlog" with the situation being that many applicants have not fully responded to requests for further information necessary in order to process their applications.
The Director General and the Minister denied that the Department has instituted the appeal referred to.
Prince Zulu (IFP) asked whether there was a contingency plan to tackle staff shortages, to which the Director General indicated that implementation of better management systems, and use of improved technology, and "working smarter and better", would help. He also noted, responding to a question from Rev Meshoe (ACDP), that casual workers are fully trained, but that with high turnover among their ranks, and little chance of their being hired permanently, their morale and commitment are low.
The Director General added that budgetary constraints were making proper performance very difficult and, in response to a member's question, the Minister noted that while the government's overall budget is a model of fiscal restraint, government function is suffering (such as providing services to rural areas) as there simply is not enough money. He added that he anticipates the vote on the Department's budget to occur in May.
In response to a query from Mr Pretorius (NNP), the Director General said that the Department's annual report will be available in April.
The Minister stated, in response to a member's question, that the HANIS card will initially be distributed to citizens at no cost.
The meeting was adjourned.
PRESENTATION TO THE PARLIAMENTARY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HOME AFFAIRS: By BL MASETLHA Director-General
[PMG Ed note: All diagrams and graphs not included; email firstname.lastname@example.org for the complete document]
I am honoured to address you for the first time in my new capacity. It is my wish that this will be the beginning of a close association between the Portfolio Committee and the Department of Home Affairs. As the primary political watchdog over the activities of the Department, you are entitled to be informed about all relevant matters pertaining to the management and administration of the Department, and account thereupon to our common principals - the citizens and taxpayers of our country. From the Department's side I will ensure that all pertinent matters are brought to your attention. Moreover, I desire that you become, and remain, constructive participants in the shaping of the Department in order to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. It is in fact, not without your active support, your informed advice and your policy directives that the Department will be enabled to meet societal expectations with regard to the provision of the services that have been allocated to it by Parliament.
The service imperative is foremost when considering these prescribed Home Affairs functions. The total South African population are clients of the Department and this literally entails a life-long association - from the issuing of Birth Certificates to registering deaths. Likewise, the entry and exit of all foreigners who, for whatever reason, visit the country are managed by Home Affairs. Few, if any, other
public as well as private organisations operate within the realm of such a vast client base. Therefore, apart from, in the democratic and constitutional sense, deriving our mandate from the citizenry, and therefore being ultimately accountable to them, they are at the same time our clients with fair expectations regarding the content and quality of services that we provide to them.
It is in this context that I view my departmental responsibility, as well as our mutual interaction. It is also the basis upon which I ask for your co-operation and support. Only as a closely-knit team, and with a consorted effort, can we together begin to confront the mammoth task that lies ahead.
2. The current Home Affairs environment:
The historical legacy of the Department is deeply imbedded in the application of the foremost harsh and discretionary policies and sanctions of the previous order such as race classification and influx control. As a consequence, its operating values and practices were informed by tenets such as control of the masses, elitist protection and ruthless law enforcement. The Department was thus since 1994, in tandem with the overall process of public sector transformation, faced with the challenge to fundamentally reconstruct itself, definitively ridding itself of its tarnished historical image and benchmarking itself as a professional, accountable and people centred servant of the public interest.
Despite the development of a Transformation Policy Framework, some constructive measures that were indeed introduced and significant direction changes that were undertaken, the fact of the matter is that the ordinary man and women queuing at our offices and requiring our services, still do not perceive much of a difference from what he or she experienced a decade ago when visiting the Bantu Affairs Commissioner.
Unfortunately the absence, for almost a year, of a Director-General in the Department placed the initiated change processes in limbo and brought comprehensive planning and transformation implementation to a standstill. It is of the utmost urgency that these should be revived, further developed and adapted in line with present circumstances and requirements.
As we approached the new millennium the world population surpassed the hallmark figure of 6 billion and the transnational movement of people as tourists, traders, refugees, legal as well as illegal migrants and so forth reached unprecedented proportions on a worldwide scale. The burgeoning world population coupled with its immense mobility, caused the management and administration of citizenship matters and migratory patterns to becoming a global "industry". The scale thereof requires befitting systems and appropriate resources to successfully confront its demands and in most cases overstretched traditional capacities of government agencies tasked with handling these matters.
In South Africa, we are a microcosm of these international trends. Not only do we have to cope with an above average population growth, but we have also become the destination of many migrants. On top of that, state and nation building required the undoing of the fragmented citizenship arrangements of the past, posing major challenges to our systems of population registration and the records inherent thereto. We are still grappling with aspects thereof and the effort related to the replacing of old TBVC identity documents experienced during last year's General Election, is but one pertinent example of such problems.
It is my considered opinion that these world trends and their unique South African manifestations have not been duly accounted for in efforts of transformation planning and implementation within the Department. It is also evident that these factors did not input sufficiently in the overall processes of governmental priority determination. This is especially evident in the decline, in real terms since 1994, of resource allocations to the Department. One can only spend so much less, work so much smarter and achieve so much more within the confines of what you have and still fulfil your obligations. After that ever-spiralling demands are destined to render your systems and practices dysfunctional. It is my submission that Home Affairs has reached that critical threshold.
As I will shortly indicate, the Department has embarked on a dynamic process to rid itself of antiquated systems and practices and to introduce state of the art technology, redesign its organisational structure as well as to instil its personnel with new enthusiasm, commitment and expertise. That is possible but success will inevitably be only partial without your intervention to procure a more realistic slice of state resources for the Department.
Allow me to at first somewhat substantiate my rather harsh views on the current operating environment of the Department before turning to my vision of a new Home Affairs and the strategies as well as requirements to achieve this future dispensation.
3. Critical factors impacting on departmental functioning:
For purposes of the discussion I will highlight key departmental activities and focus, not only on existing constraints, but also reflect on the impact that evolving conditions in the operating environment of the Department are destined to have on service provision. I will then as well endeavour to relate these to present resource inadequacies and outline the future implications if current allocation trends were to continue.
3.1 Migration management:
Increased burdens in this sphere on the Department originate firstly from the surge in international travel to and from South Africa and secondly rising immigration pressures on the country.
The magnitude of the first is indicated in the fact that a total of about 7 million visitors arrived in South Africa during 1999. This constitutes a 27,71% increase since 1995 and this number is expected to grow at around 9% per annum for the foreseeable future. The advantages for the country of this tendency are common place - not only is tourism fast becoming a major industry and job creator, but many visit here primarily for investment and other business purposes. Consequently, the official formalities pertaining to entry and exit should be as efficient and pleasant as possible.
The Home Affairs role commences with the processing of visa applications of prospective visitors. Naturally such applications are made from abroad and the Department presently runs nineteen Foreign Offices for these purposes. In locations where the Department has no representation the function is performed on an agency basis by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Consequently our services are provided at 185 locations abroad. 507 248 visas were issued during 1999.
The Department is running its foreign operations on a shoe string budget - the shortfall on this item for the current financial year amounts to R 7 million and the opportunity to upgrade services at current offices, or even more so, to establish a presence at newly identified priority locations against the background of having to deal with an annual increase of 1 million visitors, is bleak. As a result of insufficient funds the Department also has had to make use of locally reqruited staff in some countries, opening up a myriad of possibilities for fraud and corruption. Serious disfunctionalities pertaining to operational facilities and systems also exist, especially at high volume offices such as in London where 400 000 South Africans, requiring civic services, reside and 500 000 Britains visiting South Africa per annum are in need of consular services. Moreover, following the Cabinet decision that our visa policy should be based on the principle of reciprocity, the resultant adding of the nationals of 22 countries to the non-exempted visitor category, has far reaching implications for our international capacity requirements. The total number of visitors from those countries having been 958 488 during 1998, a preliminary costing hereof has shown that an additional yearly R 20 million will be required on top of the current R 7 million deficit on the Department's foreign budget.
Clearly, going the electronic route with regard to information dissemination and application lodging, would substantially alleviate costs with regard to exorbitantly high expenditure on personnel and facilities abroad. The incapacity to incur the initially sizeable installation inputs though has impeded the Department from even fully exploring this option. However, with regard to visa processing an electronic system has already been implemented at 26 South African missions abroad and a further 20 missions are scheduled to be online by the end of the month. This project will continue for two more years after which all visa application centres will be electronically linked to our Head Office. The utilisation of the Internet for the transfer of visa data was piloted at the Maputo Mission during the last year. Once security requirements have been ironed out, this cost-effective procedure will be rolled out to other offices. Apart from enhancing service delivery, the major advantages of this system relate to substantially limiting opportunities for fraud with regard to visa applications.
The first impression that foreign visitors form on arrival in South Africa is when our immigration officers process their entry. Service excellence at these checkpoints is consequently of the essence. In addition unlawful entry into the country must be prevented here, requiring high levels of alertness, decisiveness and incorruptibility among these staff cadres.
Despite the dramatic increase in foreign visitors the personnel situation with regard to immigration officers has reached critical proportions. Due to the existing moratorium on the filling of vacant posts the Department had to resort to crisis arrangements at key ports of entry where service delivery was on the verge of collapsing. This includes already overburdened staff having to work overtime as well as the employment of casual workers. Both have significant disadvantages. With relation to overtime, long hours impact negatively on alertness and customer care and the option of giving officers time off for the overtime worked cannot be followed due to financial constraints. The practice has also contributed to high levels of absenteeism due to fatigue. Some major ports of entry are practically dependent on casual workers for continued operation such as Johannesburg International Airport (68,57%), Cape Town International Airport (44,74%) and Lebombo Border Post (89,47%). In the case of Cape Town, the Airports Company (ACSA) has even for some time funded the appointment of additional casual employees, just to ensure acceptable passenger flow. Of course, the utilisation of temporary staff poses inherent problems such as meeting training norms, motivational quagmires due to the absence of longer-term career opportunities as well as unreliability and corruptibility of such staff due to their low income levels. Although my recent decision to employ the casual staff contingent on a fulltime basis as from 1 April 2000 will undoubtedly alleviate these problems, it remains an ad hoc measure forced upon us rather than being the result of a scientific personnel needs assessment.
The consequence of these personnel shortfalls as well as the incapacity to equip ports of entry with adequate facilities has limited the Department's contribution to important Southern African regional development initiatives such as in the cases of the Trans-Kalahari Highway, where traffic at the Kopfontein Border Post has increased by 113,03% since 1995, and the Maputo Corridor Project, where traffic at the Lebombo Border Post has increased by 131,31% during the same period.
The situation pertaining to port control between Lesotho and South Africa needs special mention. Apart from being completely surrounded by South Africa, resulting in the factual situation that almost all their visitors have to cross through South Africa (and the limited number that arrive and leave via the Maseru Airport can anyway be monitored by us), 92% of the economically active Lesotho nationals work in South Africa and therefore cross the border with regular intervals (even on an daily basis). Resultantly these border posts are of our busiest and significantly contribute to the overstraining of our port control capacity. In the light of these circumstances special arrangements between the two countries on these matters should be considered and the Department has requested IDHASA to advise it in this regard.
Projections on even more rapidly growing border traffic in the immediate future spell near disaster if the situation is not imaginatively addressed. This situation is especially evident at our major international airports. These are provided in the ACSA projections for Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban International Airports illustrated in the following graphs.
If present capacities to deal with passenger traffic at these airports are already overstretched, the forecasts for volume increases over the next ten years at Johannesburg with 5 million, at Cape Town with 3 million and at Durban with 1 million passengers, spells disaster if the situation is not addressed.
On the positive side it should be mentioned that with the recent computerisation of the Pafuri Border Post the implementation of an electronic communication system at all border posts has now been completed. Fifty-two of the sixty-one computerised border posts are already transferring data via satellite. The implementation of a real time system that will enable data to be transferred to the mainframe within minutes after a person has moved through a border post, is currently under investigation and has already been installed at Johannesburg International Airport and at Beit Bridge on a pilot project basis. The electronic movement control system is an advanced analytical information tool that will significantly modernise migration management. One example of its capacities is the more effective ways it provides to monitor and control the approximately 920 000 persons who at present annually overstay their visit to the country. The introduction of this system is a prime example of how modernised and electronic systems can, despite their initial high installation costs, provide a firm foundation for a more effective and at the same time rationalised Department. An investment in such resources, also in other spheres of Home affairs activities, will not only enhance service delivery but culminate in heightened levels of cost effectiveness as well.
It is perhaps an understatement that South Africa has become an extremely popular settlement venue for nationals of other countries who for whatever reason prefer to leave their country of origin. Migration to the country takes two forms - legal, thus by following the prescribed immigration procedures, and illegal, thus entering and residing in South Africa in an unlawful manner. Both add significantly to the workload of the Department and the severe shortages of personnel and funding that I have described with regard to the processing of visitors similarly impacts on these further dimensions of migration management.
Legal migration: Temporary and permanent residence as well as refugee affairs:
The Department has of late been increasingly criticised with regard to especially delays and backlogs in the finalisation of residence applications. These accusations should also be viewed in the context of our prevailing capacity limitations. However, certain initiatives are being undertaken to expedite procedures and decisions. Notable in this regard are:
* The investigation by professional consultants that commenced at the end of February 2000 on the applicable procedures with regard to temporary residence. The Minister has also recently taken certain decisions pertaining to the level of decision-making on applications and the Department introduced decentralisation procedures, all aimed at addressing backlogs;
* After the Minister's decision in December 1999 to expedite the finalisation of immigration applications waiting to be considered by the Immigrants Selection Committees, 64 persons were given exemptions in terms of Section 28(2) of the Aliens Control Act, 1991 from the requirement to be in possession of an Immigration Permit. A countrywide backlog of 3 740 immigration applications exists at present although only 211 of these are ready for presentation to the various Regional Committees of the Board whilst the remainder is still being processed or awaiting outstanding documentation;
* Following the Constitutional Court Judgement, National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Rights, with regard to the granting of permanent residence to same-sex partners of South African citizens and other permanent residents, the Department has compiled guidelines ensuring compliance with the Court ruling. These guidelines were circulated to all Regional and District Offices as well as Missions abroad as interim measures whilst legislative and administrative steps regarding Section 25(5) of the Aliens Control Act, 1991 (Act 96 0f 1991) are being formulated; and
* The Refugee Act, 1998 (Act No. 130 of 1998) is scheduled for implementation in April 2000. The Refugees Appeal Board and Standing Committee as envisaged by the Act have been constituted. Furthermore, the Act provides inter alia for the establishment of Refugee Reception Offices and Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town have been designated as locations for such centres. The processing of refugee applications naturally has capacity implications. Whereas the costs hereof for the ensuing financial year have been estimated at R 15 106 000, only R 5 175 000 has been allocated. If the approaches that have been made to State Expenditure for additional funding are unsuccessful, the implementation of the Act will be placed in jeopardy and this will yet be another example of departmental obligations being thwarted by inadequate resourcing.
The number of illegal immigrants in South Africa is debated - HSRC estimates done in 1995 vary between 2,5 and 4,1 million, and this figure might even be on the conservative side. Other more recent estimates have determined a figure of close to 8 million. The persisting asymmetry in the economies of the subcontinent coupled with the porous nature of our borders are the major contributing factors to this form of migratory pressure. Illegal migrants though also come from further afield, notably the rest of Africa, Eastern Europe and the Far East. Although the prevention of illegal border crossings is the function of the South African Police Services and the National Defence Force, the internal tracing of such migrants and their repatriation is a Home Affairs responsibility.
Once more the limited manpower and other resources available to the Department for this purpose renders effective action improbable. Currently only around 180 000 illegal aliens are deported per annum and if the reality is taken into account that many of these are back in the country even before their escorts reach home, it is obvious that a minimum impact is being made to address the situation. Although the National Interdepartmental Structure (NIDS) has determined that 1 200 officers are required to police the presence of illegals in South Africa, financial constraints have caused the Department to have only 325 officers performing this function. As shown in the following graphic exposition, even in the unlikely event of all further illegal migration into the country being halted and their presence remaining constant at the 8 million ballpark figure, the removal of them at the current rate of 180 00 per year would take a total of 44 years.
Moreover, the Department finds itself increasingly locked between, on the one hand, human rights considerations on the handling of these foreigners and, on the other, growing xenophobic attitudes towards them among South Africans. Clear political policy direction with regard to this phenomenon is consequently urgent and, whatever the intentions, will have to be backed up by appropriate implementational capacity. Undoubtedly the White Paper on International Migration and the recent draft Migration Bill published by our Ministry are serious efforts to give direction to future policy and action. The Department is eager to provide the Portfolio Committee with its practitioners input hereupon.
3.2 Civic Affairs:
The identity document campaign undertaken during the run-up to last year's General Election had the additional spin-off that the overwhelming majority of South Africans are now in the possession of bar-coded ID's. However, this project, which entailed the processing of roughly 3 million ID applications during each of 1998 and 1999, also impacted on most other dimensions of departmental activity particularly with regard to the necessity to redirect in-house resources. The fact that Immigration Officers were extensively deployed to collect ID applications is but one example. Due to the national importance of this process the Department was convinced that additional state funding would be forthcoming for this purpose. This did not happen and in the end the Department had to foot the bill of
R 36 341 million from funds allocated for the HANIS Project. The total actual expenditure on the ID Campaign for the financial years 1998/99 - 1999/2000 amounted to R 46 820 with only R 10 479 million allocated additionally to the Department. Although the Department has since experienced a significant decline in ID applications, it should be noted that in the vicinity of one million youngsters turn sixteen annually and need to be provided with ID's.
In anticipation of a further last minute rush for acquisition of bar-coded identity documents nearer to the forthcoming local government elections, the Department is closely monitoring the situation and will once again make special arrangements where the need arises. It is suggested that such actions are undertaken in collaboration with the IEC and other stakeholders. However, funding will have to be obtained. Eligible voters who are still not in possession of bar-coded ID's are urged to approach Home Affairs Offices timeously in this regard. Whereas our green bar-coded identity document was introduced about twelve years ago, other forms of identification documents are still regarded as valid for purposes other than voting. This has created repeated legal and administrative problems for the Department and it has consequently been decided to present to Parliament during its current session amendments to the Identification Act, 1997 that will amount to the invalidation of all other forms of identification other than the green bar-coded ID. In the light of the mentioned problems resulting from a multiplicity of identification documents as well as the ample time given to persons to acquire the new document, your serious consideration and support of these amendments are requested. It is estimated that about 1 million South Africans still use the old blue identity document whilst uncertainty prevails regarding the continued usage of other old identification documents such as those of the former TBVC states.
The Population Register:
Although the identity document campaign resulted in a significant updating of the Population Register its operating system was inherited from the previous fragmented dispensation and is not adequate to deal with the records of the total and still growing population. Furthermore, the Population Register is, mainly due to age, no longer efficient and effective. The last rewrite took place in 1982 and it has become necessary to analyse the present requirements as well as available hardware and software platforms and to compile a new system specification. It is also particularly important that the rewrite be finalised before implementation of the HANIS Project so as to ensure smooth integration of the respective systems and maximum performance and support of the population registration functions. Due to the complexity of this task it was deemed necessary to enlist the services of experts in the field for the compilation of a tender that will cover the requirements and technical specifications concerned. Consultants have therefore been contracted to prepare tender specifications. However, no funds have been allocated for the rewriting process.
The Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS):
After Cabinet approved the HANIS Project in January 1996 an intensive process of research, planning and design of this ambitious initiative was embarked upon by the Department. This was followed by protracted tender procedures culminating in the awarding of the tender for the Project on 11 February 1999 and the signing of the HANIS supply contract towards the end of last year. Following a subsequent Cabinet decision the provision of multi-purpose smart identity cards had to be included in HANIS. By using chip intelligence a multiplicity of applications catering for the full spectrum of governmental needs will be made possible. The HANIS interdepartmental Technical Committee is currently in the process of identifying the full spectrum of applications that will have to be included in the system. This development rendered the originally intended 2D bar-coded identity card obsolete and a new and separate tender is consequently required for the supply of this technology. It is expected that the finalisation of this tender will be finalised soon but it will not delay the continuation with the implementation of the other system components namely the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and the Systems Integration Process. It is expected that the first HANIS smart card will be issued during the last quarter of 2001. More detail regarding this project is given in a separate document that will be made available to you.
HANIS is by far the most ambitious initiative embarked upon by the Department, both with regard to its approved implementation budget of R 1,1 billion over five years as well as the impact that it will have on the modernisation of the South African identification system. Nonetheless, overseeing the delivery of the system (ensuring quality control, meeting stipulated time frames and monitoring compliance with budgetary conditions) is a daunting task. The existing moratorium on the filling and creation of posts in the Department has serious potential implications for the proper conducting of these responsibilities. Moreover, the funding of the added smart card dimension of the project will have to be urgently considered by Government.
3.3 The Government Printing Works:
As was the case with other functions of the Department, the re-integration of the TBVC states into South Africa has had serious implications for government printing. This pertains in particular to the situation of overstaffing that has evolved in the new unified printing structure in accordance with Public Service Regulations that apply to supernumerary personnel. With the Government Printing Works operating on a Trade Account subsidisation of the expenditure on salaries will have to be provided. In this regard reference can be made to the Government Printing Works Umtata, which runs at a loss of R 11 million per year. Taking over the printing works of certain of the Provinces entails also taking on of superfluous staff. With regard to the Northern Province, 64 posts will have to be taken over of which most will be superfluous.
With regard to current efforts regarding the rationalisation of government printing (including possible privatisation), it is my contention that although sensible business principles should apply, Government does indeed require a secure printing capacity. Underlying my view in this regard is the wide variety of security related and sensitive printed material that is inherent to all governmental processes and of which production outsourcing is highly problematical. We are awaiting the outcome of present investigations on this issue and the Cabinet decisions thereon. Meanwhile it is my intention to manage this function in the same manner as the other core functions of the Department. Furthermore, the premises of the Government Printing Works in Pretoria have for a long time been a bone of contention. A city-centre, multi-storeyed building is far from conducive for printing operations that have to be performed under secure circumstances.
4. Focus on the resources and capacity crisis in the Department of Home Affairs:
In my discussion above of the critical factors impacting over the full spectrum of departmental activities, it became overtly evident that insufficient funding in every sphere that was mentioned is seriously hampering the production of desired outputs. Moreover, projecting required future outputs against key indicators such as population and migratory trends suggests a continued widening of this gap, inevitably followed by a total incapacity to confront the resultant unmanageable imbalance. A separate document containing full detail on departmental budget trends in relation to outputs over the last five years will be provided to you. I will consequently only highlight its most pronounced implications here.
Insufficient budgetary allocations:
I would firstly like to draw your attention to the significant disparity between actual departmental financial needs and the funds allocated for these purposes that has emerged since the 1998/99 financial year. As indicated in the following graph this disparity amounts to R 105 490 million in the 2000/2001 financial year.
Although this by all means constitutes a sizeable shortfall it has been calculated only on the basis of narrowly defined parameters - in other words to make the existing structures and systems work for the present. The significant changes in the operating environment such as the numerical mushrooming of clients as well as their spiralling expectations with regard to minimum service standards have not been accounted for. This inadequacy is even better illustrated if the annual percentage growth in allocated funds over the five-year period is analysed as depicted in the next graph. For the ensuing year the growth is in fact a mere 0,85%.
It is important to note that this analysis has been done on the core Home Affairs functions budget and not the total budgetary allocation. The latter includes transfer allocations to other bodies including the IEC, the Government Printing Works and the Film and Publications Board. As the Department has no access to these funds their inclusion would provide a distorted picture of the financial resources available to the Department. The distinction between these elements of the total budgetary allocation is presented in the following graph.
Human resources implications of financial constraints:
The depth of lacking departmental capacity is perhaps most profoundly manifested over the full spectrum of its human resources management. The results of the moratorium on the filling of vacant posts, reluctantly introduced due to budgetary constraints and annually skyrocketing overspending, are daunting. During the current year alone the overspending on personnel came to a staggering R 24, 62 million. The detail thereof is as follows:
Superfluous personnel (136)
R 10,6 million
Creation of 51 posts additional
R 5,2 million
Shortfall on running cost: Foreign Offices
R 7,0 million
Refunds in terms of Judge White Rulings
R 1,82 million
R 24,62 million
Marked results of the moratorium are:
* A persistent and spiralling depletion of already bare minimum personnel strength levels. The last comprehensive establishment determination was in fact compiled in October 1995 and we are currently functioning way below these five-year-old norms. Illustrative hereof is the decline in the total staff establishment from 7 087 to 5 896 from 31 December 1998 to 31 December 1999 (a 16,81% staff shrinkage during one calendar year only). A vacancy state of 25,9% existed on suitably filled posts in relation to the approved establishment as on 31 December 1999. This situation can be graphically depicted as follows;
The crisis management practice of employing casual workers in situations where departmental service delivery was on the verge of collapsing such as at key ports of entry has already been discussed and need not be repeated here;
* Inhibited career pathing options and limited promotion opportunities due to the moratorium on appointments, has not only cultured a lacklustre work ethos among staff, but also resulted in a crippling loss of top performing personnel and technical expertise. The resultant departmental brain drain has further exacerbated the critical human resources inadequacies in the Department; and
* Lack of funding has also resulted in mediocre and underdeveloped training facilities and programmes in the Department. This condition naturally also seriously inhibits other training and capacity building initiatives such as the fast tracking of deserving personnel especially in the affirmative action context.
Systems implications related to financial constraints:
Aspects of this dimension have been emphasised throughout the earlier discussion. The overall impact of systems constraints is therefore here only summarised in a comparison between the Information Technology budget requests and final allocations for the last three financial years:
Information Technology management inevitably entails costs that you cannot avoid and will, if their funding is not available lead to system breakdowns. A prime example hereof is the fact that no budgetary allocation was made for the R 15 848 890 that was over three financial years spent in the Department on its Y2K project. Resultantly other IT priorities, such as projects aimed at better service delivery had to be postponed such as the electronic linking of departmental offices in the Eastern Cape (where only 14 offices out of 43 have been computerised) and in Northern Province (where only 11 out of 35 have been computerised) sofar.
5. The need for organisational redesign, systems innovation and resources procurement:
As I have stated in the beginning my central goal is the establishment of a completely new Department of Home Affairs, equipped to sufficiently deal with its prescribed functions and satisfy realistic societal and client expectations. This goal cannot be achieved without addressing the prevailing serious resource deficiencies in the Department. However, I strongly suspect that the mere formulation of better motivations for more funding will not suffice. As a Department we have to compete with thirty odd others for slices of the same cake. Consequently, our approach should be different.
I believe that the only route that we can possibly take is that of a complete redesign of all our business processes and operating systems with the view to establishing a streamlined organisation, properly equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century. This should be done in a clinical, scientific and independent way. Only on the basis of the outcome of such a process will it be possible to realistically quantify real resource requirements and forcefully lobby for their allocation to the Department.
I have in this regard been in discussion with both the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the Public Service Commission (PSC). Following from this the DPSA in collaboration with the PSC has offered to assist the Department with this process and a project proposal has since been finalised. It is also of note that the DPSA has access to the foremost scientific and professional expertise in the field, which includes a wide network of reputable consultancies as well as to international donor funding. They have indeed indicated the probable availability of such funding for the project. Time is of the essence and the diagnostic phase of the project has in fact commenced. The duration of the project is for a period of eighteen months but it has been designed in such a way that implementational activity can already commence after the completion of the first phase thereof in June 2000.
In conclusion, I am totally committed to these initiatives and am happy to say that I enjoy the enthusiastic support herein of the Department's top management. The project plan also incorporates the championing of the co-operation of all staff cadres therein. I see the process as being a consorted team effort, throughout fully involving our staff as well as the stakeholder fraternity. In a similar vein I will not only appreciate your full support but also your active participation and guidance.
Cape Town: March 7, 2000
I wish to add a few words to the extensive presentation given by my Director-General to this Portfolio Committee. Firstly, I wish to thank the Chairman for accepting my intervention at the last moment. I had received the invitation of the Chairman to be with you today, but had to decline it because of a previously confirmed engagement at the University of Zululand where I had to officiate as Chancellor. However, this engagement was cancelled and, at the last moment, I found myself in the position to participate in this briefing. As you know, I consider it very important that a constant dialogue is maintained between the Minister and the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and we must take advantage of any opportunity to foster this dialogue.
I must congratulate Mr Aubrey Mokoena for his recent appointment to the chairmanship of this Committee. I hope that, under his stewardship, this Committee will succeed in providing a significant contribution to the management of the many challenges now confronting our line function. Since I last had the opportunity of briefing this Portfolio Committee, significant developments have taken place, many of which have been discussed by my Director-General. I do not wish to give you an extensive presentation of the ministerial perspective and the policy implications of each of such developments, because this would be too time consuming at this juncture. I am sure that we shall have another occasion.
However, it is important that we consider the policy and long-term aspects of many of the present developments. These considerations are firmly within the perusal of the Ministry as the political head of the Department accountable to Parliament and this Committee. On these matters, we need to intensify our dialogue and ensure that this Committee also becomes a liaison with constituencies and affected interests within society. Amongst such recent developments, I can mention the publication of the draft Immigration Bill on February 15. This Bill has been published for comments. As I indicated in a recent press conference of Home Affairs, we will be organising workshops to explain the features of this Bill and, hopefully, after the comments period, we will be organising a conference to bring together all stake holders and role players before the Bill goes to Cabinet for its approval and final submission to Parliament.
The Immigration Bill precisely implements the White Paper on International Migration approved by Cabinet on April 1 last year. It also reflects the additional comments that we received when we solicited public inputs on the White Paper itself. I hope that the publication of this draft Bill will assist the Committee in its deliberations on the White Paper.
Since my last briefing to this Committee, we have also formally launched the HANIS project. Technical issues, such as the features to be incorporated into smart cards and the modality of distributions of the new identity documents, are still under consideration. Obviously, the features of smart cards will have a much broader impact on the rest of society as they will determine the range of implementation and applications to which smart cards can be put by the private sector and within the transactions of society. However, we are proud that our policy directive remains that of giving our country a head start by providing an identification system designed not only to meet the needs of today, but also those of a tomorrow in a world characterised by increased technology.
The Department of Home Affairs will also be interacting with the IEC in respect of matters which will require the establishment of broad policy parameters. Amongst them is the drafting of the new legislation required for the holding of elections. This matter presents delicate policy issues which will need to be discussed at a policy level and may undoubtedly benefit from the policy input of this parliamentary Committee. These policy challenges should drive the development and formulation of administrative solutions in the day to day conduct of the Department. The administration of the Department itself requires profound restructuring which involves delicate policy decision.
In this respect, I want to commend the Director-General for the excellent presentation he made on the strategies he intends to implement in establishing a "completely new Department of Home Affairs". As the executing authority, he can be assured of my full support in our endeavour to establish a "streamlined Home Affairs Department that is properly equipped to face the challenge of the 21st century". Having said this, I have no doubt that we are all aware of the immediate challenges facing the Department at this juncture.
For example, the Department has to ensure:
· that all prospective and willing voters are in possession of bar-coded IDs for the forthcoming local government elections
· that the process of finalising the draft Immigration Bill is completed to enable effective administration of migration issues;
· that the implementation of the new Refugee Act Provisions are not delayed much longer, and
· that the implementation of the HANIS project is fast-tracked to meet our commitment to enabling the IEC to conduct the 2004 General Elections on the basis of the ID smart card, to name but a few.
These tasks, which are over and above the day to day departmental functions, require immediate implementation, and not another redesign. I have no doubt that the Director-General will execute these responsibilities on the basis of the organisational restructure which came into effect on 1 April 1998, as a product of the Transformation Policy Framework as approved by Cabinet in January of that year. Financial constraints and imminent administrative disruptions normally caused by redesign exercises can be ill-afforded by my Department, at least not during this time. In heeding the President's call, I am sure you will agree with me that the time has come for us to roll up our sleeves and deliver to our people.
I hope that through the dialogue between the Ministry and this Portfolio Committee we can give to the administration of our Department the necessary assistance to live up to this historical challenge.
Home Affairs National Information System (HANIS)
· Different identity Documents
· Manual Fingerprint System
· High incidence of Fraud in Welfare, Health, Housing and Manpower.
· The Citizens are Confused
· Officials are Confused
· Fraud is made Easier
· Signifies Old South Africa
Manual Fingerprint System
· 33 MiIlion Records
· Time Consuming
· Problem of Volumes
· Accuracy Doubtful
· Unable to Help Others
· Unable to cater for Expected Population Growth
World-wide move to ID-Cards
· Convenient to Carry
· Difficult to Forge
· Better Security
· Faster Production
· Useful for Pension Payouts, etc.
· Ensure that a person is only Registered Once (Single ID-Number)
· Issue a Secure ID Card
· Allow Fast, Accurate and Effective Identity Verification
· Improve Services to Public
· Cannot separate one from the other
Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)
· AFIS can Eliminate Problems
· Technology is Available
· Able to Detect Duplicate Registration
· Allows Easy and Effective Verification
· Identification (ID - Registration)
Identification is the full registration for an Identity Card and entails the taking of a full set of 10 rolled fingerprints. (1 to Many Comparison)
· Verification of Identity
Verification is the process of checking that a person is who they claim to be. A single flat print will be used for verification. (1 to 1 Comparison)
Different Levels of Verification
· Because of the diverse applications that require a person to prove who they claim to be, HANIS makes provision for 3 main levels of verification.
· Users may select the level of verification they require.
· Allows an organization to inspect the card and check its authenticity.
· Allows the holder to be compared to the photograph on the card.
· Requires no special equipment.
Stand Alone Verification
· Allows an organization to install an inexpensive PC based system to verify the identity of a person
· Compares the person to the embedded photograph on the card and even the fingerprint to the one encoded into the card.
· Allows an organization to install a networked system
to verify a persons identity beyond any doubt.
· Compares the person and ID Card to the information stored on the National Database. Features compared include personal data, fingerprints, etc.
Identification vs Verification
· Duplicate Detection
· Large volumes must be searched and compared
· Home Affairs Only
· Results in the issue of an ID-Card
· Match and compare single fingerprint
· Simple Process One to one comparison
· Private and Public sectors
· Results in acceptance for wide spectrum of uses
Verification of Identity
· Home Affairs
Issue of Passports etc
· Other Departments
Registration of Pension Application
Payment of Pensions
· Private Sector
· They will require an on-line verification for all persons applying for a social grant.
· They may use the ID-Card and stand-alone verification for the
payment of social grants.
· Transport may require on-line verification before issuing a driving license to a person.
· Housing may require on-line verification before granting a housing subsidy.
· Manpower may require a on-line verification before granting a UIF allowances
· Manpower may require a stand-alone verification at monthly payments of UIF. · Health may require Visual Verification.
· A visual inspection of ID Card may be required when writing a cheque at a flea market or super market.
· A stand-alone verification unit may be required by the bank before a overdraft is granted.
· An on-line verification may be required by an insurance company for all persons taking an AIDs test.