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SOCIAL SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
29 May 2006
HOME AFFAIRS 2004/05 ANNUAL REPORT, 2007-2009 STRATEGIC PLAN AND 2006/07: BRIEFING
Acting Chairperson: Mr B Tolo (ANC, Free State)
Documents handed out:
2006/07-2008/09 Strategic Plan PowerPoint presentation
Budget Vote 4 PowerPoint Presentation
2004/2005 Annual Report
Forensic audit conducted during 2005
Response to disclaimer of opinion by the Auditor-General on 2004/05 Financial statements
The Department of Home Affairs presented its Strategic Plan for 2006/07-2008/09, 2004/05 Annual Report and 2006/07 Budget. Members concentrated on the pace at which services were being delivered. They shared their personal experiences to emphasise the seriousness of problems around lack of service delivery. Despite questions raised, the Committee felt there was hope that the Department was heading in a positive direction.
Presentation by Department of Home Affairs
Mr M J Maqetuka, Director General of the Department of Home Affairs introduced his delegation as Dr J Carneson, Chief Director, Mr PK Nkambule, Chief Financial Officer, Mr JR Chavalala, Deputy Director General (Civic Services), Ms T Cele, Deputy Director General (Service Delivery), Ms O Diseko, Deputy Director General (Corporate Services), Mr KH Gabohlahla, Deputy Director General, Ms LSM Makula Acting Deputy Director General, Ms D Kloka and Mr T Moyane, Chief Executive Officer (Government Printing Works).
The presentation covered challenges facing the Department and strategic responses to such challenges, progress against strategic objectives, the planning process and its outcomes, and guiding principles of the strategic plan. The presentation briefly covered the service delivery model of 2006/07 to 2011/12, strategic objectives, timeframes and outputs and finally transformation of service delivery outlining critical strategies. The Chief Financial Officer presented the budget vote, outlining the agenda, overview of the previous year’s (2005/06) budget and performance. He presented an overview of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for three years (2006/07 to 2008/09), an overview of the 2006/07 budget in detail per standard charts of accounts and the budget allocation per province. (Please see attachments for the detailed presentations).
Mr T Setona (ANC, Free State) commended the Department for a detailed and well-presented report. He asked what stage the Department had reached with the professionalisation of services. He also requested the Department to indicate how far it had come with harnessing the system for a speedy service delivery.
Mr Maqetuka agreed that the issue of professionalisation was a fundamental one, which the Department was trying to address. He added that statistics from a study commissioned in 2005 indicated that there was a gap in filling professional posts and this was attributed to a problem of scarce skills. It was clear from the study that 92% of staff was clerical and not management. This caused problems because the clerical staff was not capacitated to deal with a lot of critical issues facing the country in general. The solution was then to invest more in skilled personnel. Mr Maqetuka confessed that the Department did not posses a system to address the raised issues.
He indicated that the Home Affairs National Identification Scheme (HANIS) was threefold. It was about scanning fingerprints into a digital format, integrating the whole system and finally producing a smart card service as the final product. The crux was digitalising fingerprints. Up to this date about twenty six million fingerprints were digitalised. The final deliverable of the Department was to have everything in a digital format, which would have a positive impact on service delivery.
Ms A Qikani (UDM, Eastern Cape) was concerned that the mobile units that the Department had introduced across the country were not enough especially in dealing with rural areas. She also expressed her concern that there was insufficient infrastructure, which increased the problems facing the Department. She said officials did not have sufficient office space to work in.
Mr Maqetuka conceded that the mobile units were not enough, however the Department was hoping to introduce forty (40) more mobile units. He believed that these would have an impact on service delivery. He agreed with Ms Qikani that there were infrastructure challenges, however the problem lied mainly with the Treasury to provide funds. There was a plan therefore responding to the findings of the study commissioned by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 2005. The plan was targeting specific areas that had more people without identity documents.
Mr M Sulliman (ANC, Northern Cape) commented that the Strategic Plan presented by the Department gave the Committee hope that things were moving in the right direction to address existing problems. He asked if there was a possibility of the Department having its own emergency unit to address emergency issues such as issuing visas in a shorter period of time. Mr Sulliman proposed that in future the Department be province-specific when identifying action plans. This would enable Members to accurately report back to their constituencies.
Mr Maqetuka responded that it was possible for the Committee to invite Provincial Departments to present their progress reports and engage the Committee on issues relevant to their respective provinces. He stated that an emergency unit existed within the Department.
Ms N Madlala-Magubane (ANC, Gauteng) was concerned that the toll-free number was only made available to government officials, yet it was needed mainly in the public domain. She was also concerned that media coverage had a negative impact on the progress made by the Department. She suggested that there be someone from the Department who would be responsible for the media.
Ms T Cele said that the toll-free number was also accessible to members of the public. The intention of the internal number was to accommodate sensitive calls and those that wanted to remain anonymous. Moreover internal calls would also give an indication to the Department of where some cases originated. She said that the Department was looking at the question of media and was hoping that in future it would be addressed to avoid compromising the position of the Department.
The Chairperson commented that it was clear that the Department had problems of capacity or lack thereof. It was alarming that despite that fact, the presentation did not indicate intended measures to address the problem.
The Department agreed with the Chairperson and indicated that in future, a detailed account of how the Department was addressing capacity-related issues would be tabled before the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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