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HOME AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
27 March 2007
DEPARTMENT, GOVERNEMNT PRINTING WORKS & STATE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGENCY 2005/6 ANNUAL REPORTS & SECURITY OF IDs: DISCUSSION
Chairperson: Mr H Chauke (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Department of Home Affairs Powerpoint presentation on Annual Report 2005/06
State Information Technology Agency presentation
Government Printing Works presentation (not presented)
The Department of Home Affairs briefed the Committee on its work during 2005/06. 2006 was a turbulent year, but the Department was confident that it would be able to improve its services and address its former weaknesses. The three programmes of Administration, Delivery of Services, and Auxiliary Services were described, and their major achievements were listed. There was emphasis on the personnel placements, the new systems, information technology strategies, and security systems. The seven sub-programmes of Delivery of Services were set out, and full statistics given. It was noted that five provincial managers and 455 support staff had been appointed. The Department believed it had managed to transform and turn around, as objectives and goals had been programmed, milestones formulated and target dates for implementation set. This was incorporated into the Strategic Plan of the department.
Comparisons were made between the 2004 and 2005 performance. The Department's major challenges were human resource capacity, outdated systems needing to be replaced, corruption, the need to improve management structure and processes including monitoring and evaluation, organisational performance, performance management, vacant posts and pro-active media interaction. The budget alloction had been R3,032 billion, and there had been overspending of R53 million (1.75%), mainly in the back record conversion project.
The audit was timeously finalised and there was an improved relationship with the Auditor General. There had been nine qualifications and two matters of emphasis in the Audit Report.
Questions from Members addressed the changes in management, the reasons why provinces were no longer running some of the programmes, the fact that many of the challenges had not been detailed, the failure to evaluate posts, the recurring mistakes picked up by the Auditor General, and the affirmative gender policies of the Department itself. The lack of cooperation between Home and Foreign Affairs offices, and lack of emphasis on the Task Team report, and poor functioning of the Harbour Office were criticised.
Members posed questions and made comments on the Annual Report of the Department presented at the morning session. Comments related to the corruption, the number vacancies, the fact that the Report did not adequately reflect what was happening on the ground, and the differences between the report and of the Department and that of the Intervention Task Team, particularly in relation to human resources service delivery models. Some members were critical of the fact that no mention had been made of the Task Team recommendations, while other members felt that the Department should be given a chance to address them, and that there was potential for improvement. It was clear that there must be a plan of action and the Committee required monthly reports on the progress of implementation of the recommendations. The Committee did not accept the Annual Report. The finances would be dealt with when the Committee dealt with the Strategic Plan.
There had been some misunderstanding in that the Accountant General had not prepared a written report in relation to the budgeted amounts.
The Special Assignment programme on corruption in home affairs, particularly in relation to ID books, was screened. The Department agreed that corruption was rife, but that a concerted effort by both the Department and Civil Society was needed to address it. Members asked for an indication of the practical steps being taken.
The State Information Technology Services indicated that the relationship between this Agency and the Department had improved, and the Agency was involved in the network upgrade, disaster management for the ID systems and track and trace. It asserted that the Department's budget for IT was inadequate, and suggestions were made that it move to a virtual private network and develop a project management office to review and prioritise programmes. The Agency's security measures when printing documents were outlined. Electronic securing of documents was being investigated.
Government Printing Works also advised on the security systems, stating that there was limited human involvement and that track and trace was an integral part of the system. He stressed the need to train more people in forensic audits as the fundamentals of security would depend on technological advancement. Members asked about the changing of photographs in ID books, and the inadequate budget.
The Committee would set aside the first week of May for hearings on the Film and Publications amendment legislation.
The Chairperson announced that the Budget process hearing had started when the Committee had engaged with provincial managers from the Department. A number of recommendations had been made in the previous year, followed by the setting up of an Intervention Task Team, which had reported on the recommendations and challenges. It had been decided in particular that there must be full accountability on all resources.
The Chairperson stated that there had not as yet been public hearings on the Film and Publications amendment legislation. The first week of May would be set aside for public hearings. The newspaper "The Daily Voice" of 16 and 17 March had contained child pornography, and other insalubrious articles. Some years ago the editor of that newspaper had been invited to attend the Committee, when the Committee raised serious concerns about the material carried in the newspaper. Hopefully the Film and Publications Board would be able to give further information about how this case was dealt with. This was a major challenge and the amending legislation would deal with some of these issues. He said that the matters would be discussed at a later stage.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs: Introductory Comments
Mr Malusi Gigaba, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, apologised that the Minister was unable to attend. He announced that the Cabinet and Ministry had promised to re-prioritise the task of rebuilding the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). The former Director General had now officially vacated his position, after a year of turbulence. DHA had assumed that systems were working well, but as the annual report was made in May 2006 it became evident that the Department was facing critical challenges. The Department would be reporting on all the strategic focus areas. In spite of the challenges it had continued to navigate the storms and to continue to deliver services as best as it could, despite the weaknesses that included structural leadership and management, human resources, ICT, service delivery, and financial management. The interventions were aimed at addressing them. The Ministry had always been candid about the problems faced at every level of the organisation, which also affected citizens. It was confident that a necessary and thorough diagnosis of the problems had been carried out. It was hoped that the Portfolio Committee would engage with the Department robustly and honestly.
Department of Home Affairs (DHA): Annual Report 2005/06
Ms Thembi Cele, Deputy Director General, Service Delivery, DHA briefed the Committee on achievements of the DHA over the 2005/06 financial year. She indicated that she would focus on the three main programmes of Administration, Delivery of Services and Auxiliary Services.
The aim of the Administration Programme was to conduct overall management and administration of the DHA and provide information systems support to line functions. Programme 2, Delivery of Services, aimed to provide rights and powers to citizens and to deal with travel, passport, citizenship and population register matters. The seven sub programmes formed the core of the DHA business. Programme 3, Auxiliary and Association Services consisted of the Film and Publication Board, the Government Printing Works, Government Motor Transport, Electoral Commission and Property Management.
Under the Administration Programme, the Strategic and Executive Support Services (SESS) had a management unit to provide a professional, evaluative, planning and coordinative capacity to the Director General. She said that this unit was tasked with providing the job evaluations, which had previously been questioned by the Committee. Its achievements included a review of the structure of DHA, and alignment with departmental strategy, finalisation of 77 standard operating procedures, and office expansion, including approval of 172 additional locations and 482 mobile stop over points to improve access.
The Corporate Services Programme included human resources, information technology, legal services, Counter Corruption and Security, Communication Services, the Internal Audit and Governance relations. The achievements in each of the sub programmes were listed. In particular it was noted that Human Resources had filled 634 out of 898 critical posts. 734 interns had been appointed and 215 secured employment in the Department. There was also a launch of the Senior Manager (SMS) induction programme, and development of a service delivery model for HR, electronic systems implemented and draft HR delegations. A concept paper on professionalising DHA was developed. A national Performance Management Development System was held in 2005 to align individual and organisational performance management. A partnership was established with National Productivity Institute to identify gaps in performance and ensure consistent application of the policy. An employee relations strategy, and integrated employee wellness strategy was developed, and there was substantial effort on training.
Information technology was another area of focus. DHA had managed to establish two information technology training centres and conduct training. It had connectivity now with foreign offices under the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Further services were developed for information services, security, policy and standards. There was now a disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place. 240 of the 263 offices were computerised. Six ports of entry were computerised and the smart refugee card was introduced. There was a tender published to integrate various systems. Web based counter corruption systems were developed and linked to the Incident Reporting System.
The Counter Corruption and Security Section had managed to acquire forensic equipment to assist in developing fraudulent documentation. Partnerships were forged with various bodies who were fighting corruption. In addition physical security was improved. Biometric access control systems were installed at Head Office. An internal security policy was drafted and there were emergency plans for vetting.
The capacity of the Compliance audit Unit was increased and counter corruption plans and whistle blowing policies were implemented. All top management was vetted and all service providers were screened.
Communication and education were being improved through internal and external strategies.
Internal Audit had achieved a risk management policy, and a risk committee and risk assessment exercises were in place.
Financial and Procurement Services had implemented the Basic Accounting System (BAS). A procurement policy was drafted and all financial delegations were reviewed. An audit of state owned buildings was done, and there had been training on various accounting practices. An electronic asset management system was developed. 64 mobile units were deployed and 58 multi purpose community centres were staffed. A new office was built at Khayelitsha.
Government Relations had a ten-year roll-out plan of DHA representation abroad, with particular focus on Africa. Senior Managers were placed at missions where SA was expanding. A new directorate of Internal Relations was established. SA Forum Policy objectives were followed, including international assistance. Legal Services finalised the Immigration Amendment Act and regulations. An electronic and hard copy library was established.
Programme 2 was concerned with Delivery of Services. The seven sub-programmes were set out and explained. The achievements in the areas were listed. This included digitising 21 million (70%) of the manual fingerprint records. A further 50 online birth and death registration services at health facilities were rolled out. 57 fully computerised mobile units were manufactured. There was ongoing correction of incorrectly recorded personal particulars. The fraudulent marriage campaign identified and expunged 2 972 fraudulent marriages from the national Population Register. 19 000 customary marriages had been registered. DHA had formulated an ID distribution strategy. Service level agreements were signed with the South African Post Office. Temporary ID certificates were issued for local government elections. A partnership with other relevant bodies was established to review of the different marriage dispensations. There was now a system to identify officials involved in fraud. The statistical information was presented.
The National Immigration Branch (NIB) had reached a visa agreement with Mozambique. 209 000 illegal foreigners were deported. The Immigration Amendment Act had been promulgated, and training had been conducted. The review of business processes was finalised. Refugee Affairs had introduced a new integrated web based refugee system. The refugee backlog project was introduced, with four additional offices being acquired and fully equipped. A telephone translating service was identified. An IT systems was developed for the refugees, new smart ID cards acquired and the backlog had been reduced to 103 483.
Border Control had increased the personnel at OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports. The movement control systems were operational at all ports of entry. A counter-xenophobia strategy was developed. DHA chaired the Border Control Coordination Committee (BCOCC). Extensive training had been conducted. The law enforcement capabilities were developed and implemented. A web based counter-corruption system was introduced at OR Tambo Airport. The statistics on Border Control were given, broken down across the various sub-programmes.
Service Delivery had conducted a "client is right" campaign, extended the working hours, and procured new uniforms. Queue management and help desks were established in all provinces. In the Foreign Office, 26 officials were deployed to new missions, 20 new foreign missions were established and there was improved placement, aligned with DFA placements. A forum was established to avoid conflict. Provinces had managed to appoint five provincial managers and 455 support staff.
The Client Service Centres had set up interim solutions and finalised 8 500 problem cases and 591 ministerial enquiries. Services were decentralised according to the Turnaround Strategy and this made it easier to deal with HR functions. BAS was implemented in the provinces and IT Managers were deployed.
Ms Cele said that DHA was seeing the fruits of the Turnaround Strategy that set clear goals. This constituted the driving force behind all business activities in he Department. The strategic planning was institutionalised and linked to monitoring and evaluation of performance. The transformation of the Immigration Branch was assisted by the amending legislation now promulgated. She presented key comparisons in services delivered over 2004/05 and 2005/06 financial years.
There were still major challenges in capacity and systems. challenges. It was necessary to replace outdated systems while implementing interim measures to improve delivery and integrated systems. Corruption was still a challenge and measures currently being used must be developed into comprehensive strategies and action plans. There was still a need to improve management structures and processes. There was lack of proactive media interaction and inadequate responses.
Ms Cele reported briefly that the budget allocations had been R3,032 billion, of which R3.085 had been spent, 1.75% over budget. The overspending was mainly in BAS record conversion and goods and services. The audit was finalised in time. The Auditor General (AG) had reported qualifications on 9 matters and two matters of emphasis. Details were in the Annual Report. There was improved relationship with the AG.
The Chairperson asked if any member of the DHA had visited Harbour Offices and could include this as part of the report.
Ms Dianne Kloka, Director in the DG’s Office, DHA, said that she had visited the Harbour Office last year. The IT systems and the queues were a problem but there was ongoing support. There was a report available
The Chairperson stated that he was attempting to get the report of the Intervention Task Team to compare the two reports. The Committee would also refer to the SCOPA report during discussions.
Mr W Skhosana (ANC) noted that a number of challenges were not dealt with in the presentation. He listed these as the alignment of Home Affairs with the new demarcation of provinces, the failure to fill the funded posts in provinces, which had apparently occurred because DHA National Office had not evaluated those posts, and the fact that in Limpopo the provincial offices claimed that the project to deal with correction of errors was no longer operating. There had been no report on the printing of Ids, nor on the misspelling of names, that was a very serious challenge. Nothing had been mentioned about security. The situation on the ground did not appear to have improved.
Mr Skhosana noted further that there was little point in having a project to correct documents, as they were frequently returned with exactly the same mistakes
Mr Skhosana noted that there were recurring qualifications on the same items in the reports of the Auditor General and it did not appear that the past inadequacies had been corrected.
Mr M Sibande (ANC) enquired about the DHA"s own affirmative action policies, especially in relation to women. He noted that most of the women were serving in Acting posts.
Mr Sibande asked about coordination between the offices of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs.
Mr Sibande commented that many of the processes were taking too long. He also noted a continuing issue of vacancies, and that many key posts were not occupied.
The chairperson stated that it was important to look at the Intervention Task Team Report. It identified a number of challenges. Nothing had been said in the briefing today about the top management structures. The Committee knew, yet was not informed by DHA, that a number of the new mobile units were not functioning, and the multi purpose community centres were not operating properly. This was a source of great worry. The briefing today had not followed any different format to that of previous years. This meant that the Committee would be asking the same questions. He urged that there must be a completely honest engagement with the issues.
He noted that he had been to the Harbour Office on the previous day, which was why he had asked the question earlier. He had found that no computers were functioning and no smart cards were being produced at those offices. Such lack of full reporting made it very difficult for the Committee to perform its oversight work.
Mr F Beukman (ANC) welcomed the commitment by the Deputy Minister, but noted that the Committee could not look at the Annual Report in isolation. He concurred with the Chairperson that the Task Team’s report indicated lack of strategic management, and lack of adequate management plans. He would like to know specifically what was currently being done to address these problems. The Provinces had also mentioned a lack of close management. The Committee was seeking full clarification. He suggested that there must be a separate opportunity to speak to the audit report. He did not agree that the movement from a complete disclaimer to a qualified report was “an improvement” as suggested by DHA, and stressed that there needed to be precise confirmation of what exactly was being done.
After the lunch break, the Chairperson invited further questions and comments regarding the earlier presentation of the Annual Report
Ms N Mathibela (ANC) commented on the matter of corruption in the Department. She informed the Committee that she recalled a time when the DHA had lost many computers. She enquired what mechanisms were in place to catch the perpetrators and prevent further thefts. Moreover, she enquired what type of person was required to fill the many vacancies in the DHA as people with University degrees were being given internships in the DHA.
Ms S Ntombela (ANC) stated however that the reality on the ground was not as presented in the report. She knew of three pensioners in her constituency alone who were not receiving their pensions owing to the fact that their IDs had been duplicated. She enquired why this was occurring.
Ms S Kaylan (DA) asserted that in their presentation the DHA claimed to have developed a Human Resources service delivery model, while the Support Intervention Team stated there was no cogent Human Resources plan in place in the DHA. She sought clarity on this matter. Moreover, she enquired when the induction of the Senior Manager Service (SMS) was started and how successful it was. She informed the Committee that the DHA was the Department with the most people taking sick leave.
Mr Joel Chavalala (Acting Director General, DHA) sought to clarify a few issues. He acknowledged that the Department had problems and asserted that the management team was doing its utmost to keep the ship afloat. He indicated that the report the DHA had presented did not address anything to do with the Support Intervention Task Team and its recommendations. He stated that the DHA accepted the recommendations made by the Support Intervention Task Team and were going to implement them. He cited the strategic plan as an example of the close proximity in which management and the Intervention Task Team had worked.
The Chairperson lambasted the DHA and asserted that the population register was contaminated. Moreover, he asked the DHA what it expected the Committee to do with the Annual Report as it did not include any recommendations of the task team. He indicated that the Task Team report had identified serious shortcomings within the current management. He stated that this was evidenced by the fact that the DHA management could not even answer questions posed to it by the Committee. The Chairperson said he could not comprehend how a Department could function with less than 50% of its staff complement. He went on to say that the failure of the Department could also be seen as an indictment on the Committee, in that it had not been able to perform its oversight role properly.
Mr M Sibande (ANC) stated that he believed there could be direction within the DHA. He proposed that the DHA agree to implement recommendations of the Task Team, but that the Committee would not adopt the report. He stated that the DHA’s management should not be fired, as he believed that there was potential there.
Ms M Maunye (ANC) stated she was not defending the DHA’s lack of activity, but that as it had only received the Task Team’s recommendations a few days previously it was unfair to expect it to have included the recommendations in the presentation. She asked the Committee to give the Department a chance.
Mr I Mfundisi (UCDP) enquired when the DHA was likely to begin to implement the Task Team’s recommendations.
Ms Kalyan enquired why the Department had not reconciled its report with that the recommendations of the task team. She voiced her displeasure at being presented with a presentation prepared a few months previously, which the Committee was now expected to rubber stamp. She stated that a plan of action was urgently required for the Department.
Mr F Beukman (ANC) stated that the Committee required a monthly report on the progress of the DHA in implementing the Task Team’s recommendations. He asserted that this would assist the Committee in performing its oversight role.
Mr W Skhosana (ANC) stated that the DHA was being unfair and undermining the Committee. He felt that the DHA should have included the recommendations in its presentation.
Ms Ntombela felt the Committee should not accept the report.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee did not accept the Annual Report of the Department. He then requested that the report of the Accountant General on the state of the DHA be presented.
Officials from the Accountant General’s office informed the Committee they had not prepared a written report although they could give an oral presentation, due to a failure in communication between this office and the Committee.
The Chairperson informed the Committee that on 15 March 2007, the Committee had resolved that the Accountant General should prepare a written report. He stated he would not allow an oral report. He concluded by stating that if the Accountant General did not want to appear in Parliament before the Committee he would be subpoenaed.
The Chairperson then requested reports on the DHA’s finances.
Mr Pat Nkambule (CFO, DHA) informed the Committee he had a problem as he felt that a briefing on the Budget was different to an Annual Report.
The Chairperson informed the Committee the matter would be dealt with when they dealt with the DHA’s strategic plan.
Special Assignment documentary on Home Affairs
A video of the Special Assignment documentary on Home Affairs was presented.
The Chairperson stated there was a problem of security with official documents such as the ID books and asked for the DHA’s response to the video presentation.
Mr Chavalala conceded that corruption was rife in the DHA. He urged civil society to cooperate as the corruption shown in the video pointed to there being involvement of other outside people in the corruption.
Mr William Makokomale (Acting Chief Director: Counter-Corruption, DHA) attested to syndicated corruption within the Department. He stated that the scourge of corruption was bigger than generally thought. He pointed to the fact that there were IDs produced without any applications having been made. He indicated that the DHA was resolved to dealing with this and that it needed the support of everybody.
Mr Norman Ramashiya (Acting Deputy Director General: Civil Service, DHA) stated that no one could get four IDs issued to them. He stated that photos had been merely tampered with. He informed the Committee that officials in Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg had been suspended.
Mr Beukman stated that the Task Team had stated that there was inadequate capacity to deal with corruption in the DHA. He asked what practical steps the Department had put in place to deal with this.
Ms Kalyan wondered what steps were in place to secure documents as it seemed that the blank documents were coming out of the central depot.
State Information Technology Agency (SITA) : Report on assistance to the Department
Mr Mavuso Msimang (CEO, SITA) introduced his team to the Committee.
Mr Jonas Bogoshi (Executive: Client Services, SITA) elaborated on the relationship between SITA and DHA and the role SITA played in securing official documentation. He declared that the relationship between the DHA and SITA before 2004 was not good and there was limited SITA involvement in the Department’s affairs, which was not typical of the relationship between a service provider and client. However, after the intervention of the Committee, a cordial relationship had developed between the two thereafter.
Mr Bogoshi informed the Committee that SITA was currently involved in mandatory services with the DHA and also in the areas of network upgrade, disaster recovery for the National Identity System HANIS, and “track and trace”. SITA attested that the DHA’s budget of R100 million for information technology (IT) purposes was not adequate and ought to be re-examined. The IT challenges facing the DHA were access to transversal applications, network reliability and support. He suggested that the DHA move to a virtual private network as most other departments had already migrated to this service and it alleviated network problems. He informed the Committee that 16 000 calls had been logged with SITA and that they had resolved more than 12 000.
Regarding the security on official documents Mr Bogoshi informed the Committee that the security on the document itself was the DHA’s responsibility. SITA’s involvement was the printing of the ID document. There were measures in place to ensure accountability. These included bar-coding every paper that entered SITA, the fact that there were three processes involved in printing and handling of documents which required all three supervisors and the fact that all papers were shrink-wrapped. He attested to the fact that SITA could account for every paper entering its premises. He stated, however, that electronic ways of securing documents, such as smart ID and smart passports were being looked at.
He recommended to the Committee that DHA should appoint a Chief Information Officer (CIO) as a matter of urgency, should develop a project management office and that there should be a review and prioritisation of projects and an alignment of existent projects.
Government Printing Works (GPW): Security systems briefing
Mr Tom Moyane (CEO, Government Printing Works) informed the Committee of the strict conditions of security at the GPW. He stated there was minimal human involvement. The security paper supplied to SITA by the GPW had track and trace in place to ensure its security. He highlighted the fact that the country should embark on a Research and Development programme and train people to do forensic audits, as the fundamentals of South Africa’s security depended on advancement to a technological age.
The Chairperson stated that the DHA had not addressed the issue of birth certificates being made on street corners and that photos were being changed in ID books. He enquired if something could be done.
Mr Chavalala informed the Committee that the digitization of photos would stop them being changed in IDs. This was being done through a project called “Who am I online”.
Ms Maunye asserted there was a budget for IT in the Department and wanted to know what the problem was.
Mr Nkambule stated that this budget was simply not enough. He informed the Committee the budget required for both projects amounted to close on R3 billion, and the Department had requested further funding from the National Treasury to no avail.
The Chairperson stated that in the President’s State of the Nation Address asserted that a further R 900 million had been given to the DHA.
Mr Nkambule said this did not cover the costs.
Mr Malusi Gigaba (Deputy Minister, Home Affairs) stated that the Department was concerned with the security during application, processing and distribution and wanted to minimize human involvement. He stated that the security at the passport centre should be made more stringent and that the Department sought to purchase modern machines that could even make E- passports. He stated the Department would make an announcement when this process commenced. He agreed that a project management office was required in the DHA.
Mr Mfundisi enquired if the DHA was in agreement with SITA regarding the matters it had raised.
The Deputy Minister stated that the matter of how documents were produced and how secure they were was crucial and that the Department was dealing with the issue of securing documents. Regarding the appointment of a CIO, the Task Team had stated that the most urgent requirement for the DHA was the appointment of a DG. The DG would then establish a team to work with. He agreed that it was imperative that a project management team be established within the DHA. Moreover he stated that the Task Team had recommended that the DHA have a stand-alone budget and not be under another project as at present.
Mr Skhosana enquired why the DHA, as part of the Social and Security cluster, did not coordinate its activities with other departments when approaching the National Treasury for funding.
Mr Nkambule informed the Committee that the DHA was indeed part of a cluster when applying for funding from the National Treasury. He stated that not one cent had materialized from this request.
The Chairperson noted that the Deputy Minister as a political appointment knew more than his senior managers.
The meeting was adjourned.