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SOCIAL SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
5 June 2007
DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS STRATEGIC PLAN & BUDGET 2007/08 BRIEFING
Chairperson: Ms J M Masilo (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Department of Home Affairs Strategic Plan 2007/08 – 2009/10
Department of Home Affairs Vote 4 Budget Presentation
Department of Home Affairs Vote 4 Budget
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]
Audio Recording of the Meeting
The Department of Home Affairs briefed the Committee on its budget for the next three years and the Strategic Plan, including the turnaround strategy adopted after the report of the Support Intervention Task Team. The three year strategic plan and annual performance plans were linked to budgets that would reported on quarterly, performance contracts and quarterly reviews with managers, and monitoring and evaluation, included quarterly reviews. The strategic plan was now more focused, and there was better alignment between government priorities, the core business focus, and planning skills . The recommendations of the Task Team were being integrated into the current turnaround strategy, that would follow two phases: A further R900 million was allocated to assist with turnaround projects. The broad departmental 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 the intergovernmental and international priorities, especially the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Each of the sub-programmes was fully discussed. The budget overview for 2006/07 indicated a 92,6% spending of total budget, with the under spending caused vacant posts, non-spending of funds earmarked for smart ID cards, amounts set aside for payment of severance packages, and capital works savings. The programme structure had been altered. The approved amounts were less than requested, with a total allocation of R3.31 billion for 2007/08. Details were given of allocated funds that could not be transferred to other areas.
Questions by members related to duplicate IDs, decreases in funding, IEC allocations, the overhaul of the National Population Register, the roll out of the new ID numbers and smart cards, the reasons for non-approval of the full budget request, the reasons for the under spending and the non-filling of vacant posts, and the challenges in delivery and quality of services. Further questions were raised on planning workshops, how the applications were currently being dealt with, time frames for delivery of passports and IDs, accessibility of offices in the rural areas, refugee applications, the numbers of mobile units, salary levels of staff, repair and maintenance, assistance by the Department in employing new graduates, and the implications of the 2010 World Cup.
Budget and Strategic Plan Briefing: Department of Home Affairs (DHA)
Mr Mavuso Msimang, newly appointed Director General (DG) of the Department of Home Affairs, introduced himself and his delegation. He outlined the progress of the Department and noted that a number of teams had been enlisted to aid the Department in their performance. He noted the three year strategic plan and annual performance plans, both of which were linked to budgets that would reported on quarterly, performance contracts and quarterly reviews with managers, and monitoring and evaluation, included quarterly reviews. The strategic plan was now better focused, following advice from the Support Intervention Task Team, better alignment with government priorities, the core business focus, and planning skills improvement. He summarised that the recommendations of the Task Team were being integrated into the current turnaround strategy, and detailed the process for 2007/08 to 2009/10. The turnaround process would follow two phases: Phase one 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 this would see the roll out of a newly improved business model. There would be quarterly reports on the progress of the business model.
Mr 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, as well as monitoring and evaluation.
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 the 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 into 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, Communications and 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 R2,59 billion, which represented 92,6% of 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; namely: 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 Minister’s 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 allocation for 2007/08 totalled R3.31 billion, rising to R4.3 billion in 2009/10. 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.
Mr B Tolo (ANC) enquired as to how duplicate orders of IDs were being handled and if this problem had been noticed, as these were often IDs that were not collected where the person would reapply in a different area.
Mr Nkambule replied that a track and trace system was being put in place so that any duplication could be picked up on the system as soon as another application was received. The post office would also become a collection point for ID documents.
Mr Tolo enquired as to why the amount allocation for the coming year for main services had decreased.
Mr Nkambule replied that additional funding was required for service delivery, but funds had also been allocated to the 2010 World Cup. The DHA was operating at maximum level with minimum amount of staffing.
Mr Tolo and Ms Madlala-Magubane raised the question of the IEC allocations for the coming year and why they appeared to be much lower, since 2009 was an election year.
Mr Msimang replied that the IEC budget was not growing, and the same amount had been allocated for these two years in a row. However, in the budget process amounts had specifically been allocated for the IEC.
Mr M Sulliman (ANC) raised the question of the National Population Register and asked what other problems were faced.
Mr Nkambule replied that the register needed to be overhauled as it still contained details of citizens dating back to the time prior to the independence of Namibia, and therefore consolidation was needed in this area.
Mr Sulliman enquired as to how the birth register was being maintained, especially with regard to clinics and other hospitals.
Mr Nkambule replied that consolidation with the registering system in hospitals, as well as the clearing out of old historical records linked to Namibia, were in the process of being done.
Mr Sulliman asked whether the roll out of new ID numbers would mean new ID documents and numbers for those already in possession of a document.
Mr Msimang replied that the long term goal was to issue all citizens with a smart card ID which would contain all their relevant information, but that the unique ID number still needed to be implemented and the backlog of present ID books must be cleared before this would happen.
Mr Sulliman enquired why the DHA’s request for an increase in budget was not given, and asked for any reasons given by National Treasury. He also noted that this had an impact on the service delivery capabilities of the DHA.
Mr Msimang replied that the budget allocation was submitted to the Department of Public Works, in view of the devolution of funds from that Department and that the budget had been finalised by that Department.
Ms Madlala-Magubane (ANC) asked how it was possible for a person to own three passports and how this kind of corruption was being dealt with.
Mr Nkambule replied that holding three passports was illegal and fraudulent, and to curb this new positions of Airline Officers had been created, who would check passports used at the airlines.
Ms M Madlala-Magubane (ANC) enquired as to why there was under spending in the budget.
Mr Msimang replied that the under spending in the main area of the budget was due to employee compensation for jobs not yet filled and also to the under spending on the smart card system not yet introduced, as well as certain other savings outlined in the presentation.
Ms Madlala-Magubane enquired why the allocation for government printing was only 0,01% of the budget, noting that the printing of ID, passport and birth documents was a major project for the DHA.
Ms H Lamoela (DA) enquired as to why vacant posts had not been filled, especially with regard to senior management positions.
Mr Msimang replied that the Minister of Home Affairs had suspended all the posts, and these had recently been advertised in the Sunday Times newspaper. This was to assist in restoring confidence and credibility to the DHA, and in addition to allow for sufficient time to fill the posts with the right people. The Minister’s priority was to curb and reduce corruption in a significant way.
Ms Lamoela enquired as to the challenges that were presently being faced by DHA in the quality and delivery of service.
Mr Msimang replied that the challenges faced at present were to clear the backlog of ID documents and passports and to streamline the system. The upgrading of the passport system needed additional funds.
Ms Lamoela referred to the presentation with regard to the planning workshops and requested practical applications from the DHA.
Mr Msimang stated that details would be made available to the member.
Ms Lamoela questioned the accommodation of ID applications at the present time.
Mr Msimang (DG) replied that the backlog needed to be dealt with and extra staff appointed. The new technology and training would assist in this.
Ms Lamoela queried about time frame for delivery of ID’s and passport documents.
Mr Sulliman also questioned the roll-out of the new ID numbers and how it was going to work.
Mr Nkambule replied that additional funding was needed for the roll out and that it was an IT related issue. More infrastructure as well as resources were required, and the plan for the ID documents was in the Annual Performance Plan over the next three-year period.
Ms Lamoela raised the question of the number of refugees that were presently being processed.
Mr Msimang replied that this issue was a turnaround issue and that ID documents, together with asylum seekers, were being dealt with as a matter of urgency. Unfortunately it was in this area that there had been much corruption in the DHA in the recent past. The updated technology would assist in solving these problems.
Ms Lamoela enquired as to the number of mobile units that were presently deployed into the rural and remote areas per province.
Ms A Qikani (UDM) also questioned as to how the service was going to be extended in terms of registering births in the rural areas, and the processing of documents, with particular attention to how clients would be able to collect documents. She also enquired as to where the mobile units would be situated in each province.
Mr Nkambule replied that the mobile unit allocation per province at present was: Gauteng, 9; Free State, 10;North West, 10; Limpopo, 17;Eastern Cape, 16; KwaZulu Natal, 16; Mpumalanga, 10; Northern Cape, 11; Western Cape, 10. These units would have a set roster for visits to different towns and communities. The roster would be worked out in collaboration with the communities.
Ms Qikani also enquired as to the spread and access of Home Affairs Offices in the country, particularly in the Eastern Cape.
Mr Msimang replied that there was a long-term plan to increase the amount of offices for greater accessibility but a larger staff complement was needed for this to be efficient.
Ms J Vilakazi (IFP) and Mr T Setona (ANC) enquired as to the budget allocation for the provinces and how this allocation was decided upon.
Mr Nkambule replied that the budget was allocated from the Department of Public Works.
Mr Setona enquired of the DG if regular three-monthly updates could be submitted to the committee so that the progress on the key priorities could be monitored.
Mr Msimang replied that that would be possible and that a time could be made to report back to the Committee on the progress achieved.
Mr Setona enquired as to the present salary levels of the staff at all levels and if this had been improved as the DHA had a service to provide and employees needed correct remuneration.
Mr Nkambule stated that the salary levels were at present the same as those at all levels of public service and administration and that middle to higher management were being remunerated at market-related salaries.
Mr Setona enquired as to whether the DHA was classified as an essential service and asked for the definition of this to be made clear.
Mr Msimang replied that the DHA was an essential service.
Mr Setona stated that he understood the challenges faced with regard to globalisation, including the areas of sport, business and arts and culture. However, he enquired as to how the core function (that of passports and IDs) was being communicated to the public.
Mr Msimang replied that this was always a challenge and that R600 million of the budget had been allocated to assist in this, which would also contribute in assisting Home Affairs with the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The Chairperson complimented the DHA on the improvement in the IT and budget report. She enquired as to how the repair and maintenance was carried out on any of the buildings.
She enquired as to why the DHA staff was not identifiable with nametags, as this proved difficult in follow-up and what training was given in regard to processes necessary for the DHA to function optimally.
Mr Msimang replied that the upgrading of the systems and training of the staff would deal with many of the problems. He also added that a further R600 million had been allocated to assist DHA in this regard.
The Chairperson questioned if unemployed graduates were being assisted in any way by DHA.
Mr Nkambule replied that a project was being run that employed graduates to assist with gathering information for the DHA, and that it was moving forward.
Mr Msimang added that consultants were also being used to assist the DHA in effective systems and proper management strategies.
The Chairperson confirmed with the Committee that the budget vote would be on the 8 June 2007.
The meeting was adjourned.
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