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HOME AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
31 October 2001
IMMIGRATION BILL: DELIBERATIONS
Chairperson: Mr Mokoena (ANC)
Immigration Bill [B79-2001]
The impact of the newly released Medium Term Budget Policy Statement on the budget of the Department of Home Affairs was briefly considered. Deliberations on the Immigration Bill took the form of identifying provisions for further review. There will be a further meeting on 13 November on the Bill. The Committee will be away on study tour next week.
Medium Term Budget Policy Statement
The Chairperson noted that the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement presented by the Finance Minister made provision for more money to be allocated to the Department of Home Affairs. The Chairperson commended this development, but remarked that the allocation was still likely insufficient, and that the Minister and Department would no doubt be making further funding requests. He added that, at the same time, it must be asked why the Department had not spent R72M which is to be rolled over. This will be raised in Pretoria next week when Committee members meet without the Department Director General. Questions will also be posed as to whether the additional funds are to be targeted to critical projects, such as upgrading various Department facilities. On that issue, the Chair recommended meeting without the Public Works Portfolio Committee Chairman, since that department has responsibility for these offices and buildings. In anticipation of that meeting, the Director General would be requested to provide a list prioritising necessary improvements.
Consideration of the Immigration Bill resumed, without continuation of the reading of the bill aloud, line by line.
Among the provisions identified for further review were:
Clause 44, Identification: it was recommended that Safety and Security officials be consulted regarding input on the implications of implementing this provision.
Clause 45, Aiding and abetting: the Chair noted that "institutions" as well as "persons" should be covered by this section, and expressed concern that its scope may be overly broad in possibly characterising innocent acts as "aiding and abetting" illegal foreigners.
Clauses 46, Obligations of foreigners: the Chair suggested that this section be fleshed out without more specifics.
Clause 47, Organs of state, and Clause 48, Other institutions: there was a consensus that without the mention of "any law", specific reference to "the law of contract" is superfluous.
Clause 49, Agents: the Chair remarked that the purpose of this section must be considered, and that it could create issues concerning accreditation of agents, and have cost implications.
Clause 50, Internal auditing: there was a consensus that this provision covers many matters, and needs to be fine-tuned.
Clause 52, Offences: it was recommended that the Labour Department be consulted concerning operation of the training fund into which fines will be paid.
Clause 53, Administrative offences: the consensus was that this section should be limited to addressing actions of Department personnel, without sanctions for others' actions to be covered in the preceding section.
Before adjournment it was noted that consideration of the Bill will continue at the 13 November Committee meeting. No meetings will be held next week while the Committee is on its northern study tour.