Minister on Department’s Strategic Plan & Budget, SADC Protocol on Facilitation of Movement of Persons; Films & Publications Ame

Home Affairs

21 May 2007
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Meeting report

HOME AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
22 May 2007
MINISTER ON DEPARTMENT’S STRATEGIC PLAN AND BUDGET, SADC PROTOCOL ON FACILITATION OF MOVEMENT OF PERSONS; FILMS AND PUBLICATIONS AMENDMENT BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Chairperson:
Mr HP Chauke (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Department of Home Affairs Strategic Plan: 2007/8-2009/10 presentation
Department of Home Affairs Strategic Plan Volume 1 [available later www.dha.gov.za]
Department of Home Affairs Strategic Plan Volume 2: Annual Performance Plan 2007 – 2008 [available later www.dha.gov.za]
Department of Home Affairs Vote 4 Budget Presentation
ANC submission on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill
ACDP submission on Films and Publications Amendment Bill

Relevant Documents:
SADC Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons
Films and Publications Amendment Bill [B27-2006]
Films and Publications Act


SUMMARY
The Department of Home Affairs presented its Strategic Plan and explained how the three year plan linked to the Annual Performance Plan 2007 – 2008. The Strategic Plan incorporated five broad departmental objectives, which took into account the matters reported by the Support Intervention Team and national goals and priorities. The newly appointed Director General Mr Mavuso Msimang expressed his confidence that the Department would improve in all spheres. The Chief Financial Officer presented an overview of the 2006/07 budget performance, reporting a total expenditure of R2,5 billion 93,796,000 which accounted for 92,6% of the total budget. The budget for 2007/08 was R3,314,59 in 2007/08. A breakdown was given of the 2007/08 allocation to provincial offices. The new Director General was instructed to report back to the Committee in thee months with an update on the Department’s progress.

Members raised questions on the time required to set up an appropriately qualified team to meet the demands of the Strategic Plan, the measures for stakeholder management, the measures to ensure that timeframes were met, the need to improve communication systems, the proposed Smart Card, the steps to address internal audit and human resource problems, and new migration models. Further questions related to airline personnel in foreign countries, the large number of vacancies, gaps in the systems between the provinces and Head Office, and re-siting of the Soweto offices.
Members expressed concern about under spending, and transfer of funds, and the failure to reconcile amounts between this Department and Foreign Affairs, and commented that the financial controls needed to be tightened. The Committee wished to have a full report on the problems leading to a disclaimer by the Auditor General, and on use of government transport. They noted an urgent need to address the lack of monitoring at Home Affairs offices at places affected by the new demarcations. The Committee pledged its support and noted that it would continue to do oversight.

The Committee adopted the Department’s Strategic Plan 2007/8 to 2009/10 and would engage with the Annual Report later.

The Committee adopted the Southern African Development Community Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons and would at some point debate it in the House.

The Committee deliberated the way forward on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill. A written submission suggesting amendments was tabled from the ANC and the ACDP. The DA indicated that it would have opposed the Bill in its current form but would debate the matter and reserve its rights. The IFP indicated that it would do likewise and report back to the Committee on Friday 25 May, when it would take a resolution. The Bill would be referred to the House on 29 May.


MINUTES
Address by the Minister of Home Affairs
The Minister of Home Affairs, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula paid special welcome to Mr Mavuso Msimang, the newly appointed Director General (DG) of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). She charted the Department’s progress in the period under review. A number of turnaround action teams had been enlisted to aid the department’s performance drive. The turnaround process would follow two phases. Phase one, which was currently underway, employed the services of an international team of experts, and would be completed at the end of 2007. Phase two would span the following twelve months and would see the roll out of a new improved business model.

The Minister made special mention of the Department’s plans to implement the new track and trace system for identity documents (IDs), which would allow for tracking at all stages and would enable greater accountability through the staff tracing mechanism, thereby eliminating fraudulent ID procedures. The Minister asked for the Committee’s support in this endeavour. She informed the Committee that the request to bring forward the budget vote to 30 May had been accepted by the Department.

The Chairperson interjected that the Chief Whips were negotiating the merits of the possible date change and the Committee and the department would be notified.

Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Strategic Plan 2007-10: Briefing
The Chairperson welcomed the newly appointed Director General, Mr Mavuso Msimang, and expressed the Committee’s confidence in his ability to turn around the DHA.

Mr Msimang thanked all for the warm welcome and introduced the presentation of the Strategic Plan.

Dr John Carneson, Chief Director, Strategic and Executive Support Services, DHA, restated the central role of the DHA and recognition of its role by allocation of a further R900 million to assist with turnaround projects. Dr Carneson explained that the three-year Strategic Plan outlined the objectives to be reached, with each business unit charting its output per year. The Annual Performance Plan broke down each business unit’s output into quarterly targets, with indicators in place for each target. Both were connected to budgets, performance contracts and quarterly reviews, and monitoring and evaluation. Dr Carneson indicated that he would focus on the Strategic Plan.

The Strategic Plan incorporated five broad departmental objectives. These took into account the report of the Support Intervention Task Team, as well as national goals and priorities. The objectives included capacity building of the DHA, facilitating greater access to citizenship rights through increased access to the DHA services, the creation of a culture of Batho Pele through improved service delivery and zero tolerance of corruption, improved migration and border control policies and implementation, and a proactive response to intergovernmental and international priorities, especially the 2010 soccer World Cup.

These objectives were elaborated on by discussing the corresponding sub-programmes and branch objectives that were put in place to realise the DHA’s Strategic Plan. Specific focus was placed on the National Immigration Branch (NIB), Civic Services, Information Services, Finance and Supply Chain Management, Strategic and Executive Support Services, Corporate Services, Service Delivery, Counter Corruption and Security, Governance Relations, Communication and the Internal Audit. The three year Strategic Plan was linked to the Annual Performance Plan to ensure continuity.

Mr Pat Nkambule, Chief Financial Officer, DHA, presented the DHA’s budget. He gave an overview of the 2006/07 budget performance. There had been total expenditure of R2,5 billion, which represented 92,6% of the total budget. The under spending was due to savings caused through vacant posts, non-spending of funds earmarked for smart ID cards, amounts set aside for payment of severance packages, and capital works savings.

Mr Nkambule stated that there had been a change of programme structure into three broad programmes; Administration, Civic and Immigration Services, and Transfers to Agencies. A detailed account was given of the 2007 budget proposals and the amounts approved by the Ministers’ Committee on the Budget (MinComBud). Overall the approved amounts were far lower than the department’s requests. The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget for three years 2007/08 to 2009/10 reflected a steady increase. The Committee was also given details regarding allocated funds that could not be transferred to other areas. These included amounts set aside for the Film and Publication Board and Government Printing Works.

A detailed breakdown and comparison of the budget for 2007/08 was tabled. The budget increased by 18,36% to R3,3 billion.

Discussion
Mr F Beukman (ANC) asked how long Mr Msimang would need to establish an appropriate team in order to meet the demands of the Strategic Plan.

Mr Msimang assured the Committee that the best people would be sourced to make up an effective team, both from within the department and externally. The current disarray within the Department had the potential to become a national disaster, as inefficiency could jeopardise the success of the 2010 soccer World Cup, and therefore it was of crucial importance to place the best people in the Department. Salaries would have to be competitive and if need be supplementary funding would be sought. Mr Msimang reported that competency tests had been carried out by the Support Intervention Task Team and these had been assessed independently. The results, which were as yet unknown, would receive serious consideration. The lack of information technology (IT) expertise within the DHA meant that these skills would have to be sought outside the department. He expected a strong team to be in place within the next three months.

Mr Beukman asked for input regarding stakeholder management and the measures adopted to ensure that all external stakeholders remain informed.

Mr Msimang agreed that stakeholder management formed a crucial part of the work of the Department and noted that communication needed to be improved and that all stakeholders ought to be invited to participate in relevant resolution processes.

Kgoshi Morwamoche (ANC) noted that the alignment of regional municipalities with the DHA was a very important task. He used the example of the Groblersdal municipality, which was previously under Mpumulanga but was presently not accountable to anybody. This dilemma highlighted the persisting issue of demarcation.

Mr M Sibande (ANC) asked what measures were in place to ensure that the timeframes and deadlines articulated in the Strategic Plan would be met.

Mr Msimang assured the Committee that deadlines would be reached through the use of incentives, performance targets, and possible punitive measures in the event of inefficiency.

Kgoshi Morwamoche raised the question of the previous lack of teamwork in the DHA. The tendency for staff to take abnormally long leave was problematic.

Mr Msimang reported that staff management would be taken very seriously and the practice of taking long leave would be stopped.

Kgoshi Morwamoche noted the lack of communication between systems and noted that this had led to a lengthy time delay in verifying identity.

Mr Msimang responded that the use of increased technology would improve efficiency in dealing with identity documents (IDs). The smart card was high on the DHA’s agenda, and unused funds from last year would need to be transferred to this project. Smart cards would increase accountability and curb fraud.

Mr W Skhosana (ANC) noted the pervasive lack of urgency amongst the DHA staff and questioned whether the department had the capacity to meet the three year deadlines outlined in the Strategic Plan.

Mr S Swart (ACDP) noted that previous turnaround plans that had been presented to the committee and asked how this plan would be different.

Mr Msimang agreed that countless failed turnaround plans were frustrating. He assured the Committee that this plan would be different and that a turnaround would indeed happen. He committed the Department to using all unused funds.

Mr Swart asked what urgent steps had been put in place to address the concerns relating to the DHA’s internal audit.

Mr Nkambule responded that the Department was engaged in this matter, which was currently being addressed at the Chief Director level. Measures such as the recruitment of an internal audit officer and the establishment of a co-sourcing agreement with an auditing firm had been implemented.

Mr Swart referred to Mr Skhosana’s point regarding the lack of human resources (HR) capacity and asked whether an external service provider had been enlisted. Mr Swart referred to the situation whereby vacancies had been filled by reportedly under qualified staff.

Mr Malusi Gigaba, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, explained that the qualifications of people were not in dispute, but the problem was rather that the internal appointment processes had been incorrectly followed. The relevant DHA employees were being held accountable for this misconduct.

Ms I Mars (IFP) asked what the budget implications were for all the vacant posts.

Ms S Kalyan (DA) asked how many level one employees were still in an acting capacity.

Mr Msimang said that positions needed to be better defined so that they could be more effectively filled on a permanent basis. He also noted the need for proper job evaluations to be done.

Ms Kalyan inquired into the existence of the proposed client call centre and asked whether this was operational yet.

Mr Beukman (ANC) inquired whether there would be sufficient migration models in place to cater for projected migration trends over the next five to ten years.

Mr M Swart (DA) noted that the process of registration of refugees at the border was problematic as many refugees were not properly traced after crossing the border and hence potentially not included in the system.

Mr Gigaba noted that the entire process of asylum seeking was under review as it was currently unnecessarily lengthy and susceptible to corruption.

The Chairperson noted that the Department was operating at under 40% capacity at the provincial level, and noted that this posed an urgent challenge. He urged the DG to engage in substantial interaction with the HR department.

Mr Nkambule explained that the Department was faced with a roll-over of vacancies from the previous year, and while this was a huge task he assured the Committee that only appropriately qualified persons would be employed.

Ms Kalyan asked about the appointment of airline office personnel and requested details regarding the number of appointees and the training these appointees would receive.

Dr Carneson admitted that he would have to check the details but he noted that there were at least six high priority countries identified. There would be continuous liaison with the Department of Foreign Affairs in this regard. Training would be undertaken as this was a specialised position.

Mr Nkambule added that there were currently seven offices to be used as a pilot project before final decisions were taken.

Mr M Gigaba explained that the current turn around programme was geared to respond to issues of leadership, and that human resources, ICT and financial administration would all be addressed so the DHA was better placed to effect a meaningful turnaround. The Minister of Finance had allocated further funding for the transformation of the DHA. These funds would be used to address the recommendations put forward by the Support Intervention Task Team. HR capacity would be one such area of focus. Mr Gigaba suggested the possibility of splitting the DHA into two branches to deal with migration and civic services respectively.

Kgoshi Morwamoche asked that Mr Msimang address the situation regarding incorrect spelling and erroneous classifications that occurred within the DHA’s printing department.

Mr Msimang asked that distinction be made between civic services and the document centre. He defended the document centre arguing that it may have been supplied with incorrect information. He noted that the head of the document centre was doing a commendable job. Increased technology would curb any future errors.

Ms Kalyan asked what damage control measure had been put in place to deal with the screening of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Special Assignment programme scheduled to be aired that evening.

Mr Msimang replied that he would address the programme contents and would take steps to reassure the public that the Department was in the process of a turnaround.

Ms M Maunye (ANC) raised the issue of the provinces not linking up with the head office.

Dr Carneson noted that there were serious gaps in the system and that improved integration was crucial. He assured the Committee that, while the DHA was only able to provide very broad answers at this meeting to many of the questions asked, all concerns would be taken seriously.

The Chairperson asked that the DG report back to the Committee after three months so that the Committee could be informed of the Department’s progress. The Committee would prepare a list of all the recommendations raised during the meeting.

As regards the budget presentation, the Chairperson requested a report on an amount that had not been previously accounted for.

Mr Nkambule explained that the amount reflected under spending due to the Department’s dependency on the Department of Public Works, which had resulted in tenders never being finalised. The DHA could regrettably do little to control the Department of Public Works.

Mr Beukman cautioned against the transfer of funds that was not done in accordance with the proper regulations.

Mr Nkambule responded that in order for funds to be transferred the permission of both the programme manager and the accounting officer was required. The CFO could not transfer funds without the permission of the accounting officer. All transfers would be done in compliance with regulations.

Ms Mars asked how the provincial allocations were determined.

Mr Nkambule replied that these allocations were based on staff numbers for each office as well as population density in each region.

Ms Kalyan asked about the legality of transferring funds to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Mr Nkambule (CFO) explained that the DFA paid the salaries of those Home Affairs officials stationed at foreign missions and registered claims for the amounts paid. The DHA compensated the DFA once that department registered its claims.

Ms Maunye requested that the CFO give greater clarity on why the DFA and the DHA had failed to reconcile their interdepartmental balances.

Mr Nkambule responded that the DFA paid the monthly salaries of the DHA officials stationed at foreign missions. DHA settled these amounts when DFA registered their claims. Part of the amount allocated for compensations had not yet been spent because the DHA was still waiting on claims from the DFA.

Mr Sibande felt that matters such as the large amount that was receivable, ineffective debt collection, and non-compliance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and National Treasury regulations were linked to issues such as the one Ms Maunye had raised.

Kgoshi Morwamoche wondered why the irreconcilable DFA and DHA balances were considered a matter of emphasis in the case of the DHA but not in that of the DFA. When the Committee raised the matter with the Auditor General, he had failed to give a satisfactory response.

Mr Nkambule explained that the cases members referred to related to the 20O5/06 financial year and had to a large extent been dealt with. ‘Receivables’ referred to what one was owed and expected to collect. These receivables came in various forms such as debt, payment from airlines that had conveyed “passengers that were not properly documented”. The receivables were not related to the DFA amounts that he had described as a saving from the 2005/06 financial year.

Mr Swart referred to the MTEF additional funds and asked why there was not an immediate allocation for 2007/08.

Mr Swart noted a discrepancy between the amounts of R800 million promised by the Minister of Finance and the actual amount of R600 million actually received.

Mr Nkambule responded that the letter the Department received from National Treasury had very clearly indicated that any turnaround requirements for the first year would have to be funded through the re-prioritisation of the current year’s budget. The DHA was aware that they might, through the National Treasury’s processes, request that the funds be brought forward during the adjustment estimate. In the meantime the turnaround for the current financial year would be financed through re-prioritisation within their allocated budget.

The Chairperson requested engagement on the problems that led to a disclaimer in the Auditor General’s report. While the rands and cents of the budget were important, he suggested that the focus should rather lie on the root causes of the under spending.

Mr Nkambule responded that these and other concerns would be addressed in the Accountant General’s report.

Mr Nkambule referred back to previous comments and noted that the amount used for severance packages was budgeted for. If the DHA had failed to spend the money, it would have been accused of under spending. The awarding of severance packages was a long process requiring agreement from both the Ministers of the DHA and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). At the close of the financial year that process had not yet been finalised.

Mr Nkambule explained that the Department had budgeted for R596, 804 million to be spent on capital assets. The Department had however only spent R444, 324 million. The member might have mistakenly thought that the latter figure referred to what had been budgeted for.

Mr Sibande was concerned that DHA had apparently failed to take the Committee’s recommendations into consideration. He asked that DHA give an update on the administration of the transport within the Department.

The Chairperson said that the AG’s report was still awaited, but that the Committee would note the question and look at how the Department had addressed, for instance, the issue of the Government Garage’s expenditure of R61 million which was not recorded.

Mr Sibande thought that the budget should respond to some of the Committee’s recommendations such as the one related to the insufficient size of the Soweto office.

Mr Nkambule agreed that the Soweto office was too small. The DHA and Department of Public Works (DPW) had tried to secure alternative office space, which proved difficult. It had now been agreed with the landlord of a large complex that DHA would take over the shopping centre and the DPW was heading the process. DHA had also considered the possibility of converting unused schools but budgetary constraints would not allow for the renovations and construction that this proposal would have entailed.

Kgoshi Mathebe recalled that an investigation had found that the DHA’s entire financial management system was flawed. Policies had not been drawn up properly, supervision was inadequate and there was lack of control over revenue. He requested the CFO to explain what the DHA aimed to do to address these concerns.

Mr Nkambule responded that the DHA was aware of the challenge that revenue collection posed at their various offices. The greatest challenge related to the capturing of receipts once funds had been collected. DHA worked with provinces to clear most of the accounts. Keeping cash at the various offices remained risky. DHA was exploring initiatives that would minimize cash exchange at offices. The larger offices were the bigger challenge as the smaller ones were more able to institute checks and balances. One suggestion had been that people might be able to make payments at supermarkets or the post office and would only be required to take their proof of payment to the DHA offices.

Kgoshi Morwamoche noted the CFO’s indication that the arrangements for provincial budgets were determined by the number of officials within the Department. The Groblersdal and Burgersrus offices no longer fell under Mpumalanga province, and claimed independence. These offices were supposed to now fall under Limpopo province, and he wondered how they would be budgeted for.

The Chairperson wondered what was the status of these offices.

Mr Nkambule explained that the offices affected by the transfers were budgeted for as the budget for those specific offices was simply moved to the new province.

The Chairperson asked how the two offices referred to had been affected.

Mr Nkambule did not have the exact details pertaining to those two offices. He knew however that when an office moved from one province to another, the pay point as well as the budget moved to the receiving province. The DHA had addressed the matter, based on the information the national department received from its provincial managers.

The Chairperson sought clarity on what Kgoshi Morwamoche had meant when he referred to the offices as ‘independent’. To him that meant that they were free of provincial control.

Kgoshi Morwamoche explained that the people of those towns had not wanted to be moved to the Limpopo province. At present no one from Limpopo monitored the administration of those offices.

The Chairperson said that the Committee would have to raise the matter with the relevant provinces and that the Director General would also have to attend to it.

Mr Msimang assured the Committee that he would investigate the matter.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for its presentation and noted that much work still needed to be done in order to change the Department, which still had the challenge of proving to the Committee that it was committed to change. The Committee would continue giving the Department the support it needed and would over the next few months be doing oversight on the implementation of some of the measures. The Department should not see that involvement as an obstacle to their progress, but rather as support.

The Committee adopted the Department’s Strategic Plan 2007/8 to 2009/10.

The Chairperson ruled that the Committee would engage with the Annual Report at a later stage.

Adoption of SADC Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons
The Chairperson noted that the Committee had already received a presentation on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol and that all parties had had the opportunity to debate the protocol with their members. The Committee would request the opportunity to briefly debate the matter in the House.

The Chairperson believed that, considering the challenges facing South Africa, SADC and the African continent, it was very important that the protocol be ratified. That would facilitate the introduction of systems that would make it possible for citizens from SADC countries to move around the region without the hardships they were currently facing. He noted that the independence of Mozambique and then Zimbabwe had resulted in many Portuguese and British citizens obtaining South African citizenship easily. Namibia had lost one third of its population to South Africa when it had become independent. This Committee must drive interventions aimed at addressing the matter to allow all to access the markets and contribute to the economic development of the region.

The Committee adopted the protocol.

Films and Publications Amendment Bill (FPB) Deliberations
The Chairperson said after the deliberations to be conducted at this meeting, Members must obtain their party’s mandate in preparation for the clause-by-clause deliberation of the Bill. It was hoped to debate the adoption of the legislation on 29 May. The Committee had had enough time to engage with the proposed legislation as well as the input from the relevant stakeholders.

Mr Beukman proposed that the Committee take a ten-minute break so that parties could discuss some issues amongst themselves.

Ms Kalyan recalled that the Chairperson had indicated that the Committee would invite ICASA and the Communications Portfolio Committee for discussion of the legislation.

The Chairperson explained that he had met with the Chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee to raise certain issues, but that in the light of the suggestions that had now been made around the exemption and broadcasters, they had not believed that a further meeting was necessary. The Committee had also met with ICASA, which re-emphasised its responsibilities and pointed out that the new regulations would address some of the Committee’s concerns. He did not think that there was a need to meet with ICASA again. He thought that most members by now had a good understanding if the issues involved.

He added that Mr Swart had made a one page proposal that Members should take into consideration when making their input.

Ms Kalyan said that she was not happy to have to submit party proposals within such a short time, as parties had not had time to consult.

A ten-minute break was allowed by the Chairperson

On resumption, Mr Beukman, speaking on behalf of the ANC, said that his party had prepared a proposed way forward on the Bill. He suggested that the legal drafters prepare a “Committee Bill” to incorporate all suggestions. The ANC document contained many proposed amendments to the definitions and he suggested that members go through it carefully. He added that the ANC was able to motivate each of the suggested changes.

Ms Kalyan placed in record that the DA would have rejected the current Bill in its totality. In view of the documents prepared by the ANC and the ACDP, the DA would reserve that right, and return with their position at the next meeting.

Ms I Mars (IFP) said that the IFP was in the same position as the DA and would have to discuss the new documents.

The Chairperson said that it was important for Members to get mandates from their parties.

Ms Kalyan reminded the Committee that Africa Day was on 25 May and that the Speaker had planned a programme.

The Chairperson responded that the Committee would take the programme into account but he made clear that Friday’s meeting would not be postponed.

Mr Swart (ACDP) said that the ACDP document was related to a specific proposal and would have to be considered in the context of the other document that had been presented. He might add to his document after considering the ANC document. Since he would represent Parliament at the Magistrates’ Commission he would not be able to attend the next meeting.

The Chairperson said that the parliamentary legal advisor would also be available to respond to any questions at the meeting on Friday.

The Chairperson noted that the Department’s Budget Vote would take place on 7 June.

The meeting was adjourned


 

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