12 May 2022 - NW1641
Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs
(1)Whether, with regard to the presentation made by his department and the State Information Technology Agency to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on 31 August 2021 on plans to be implemented to resolve downtimes, the upgrades have been done; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) was the cause of the recent system downtime in the majority of the Home Affairs offices and (b) plans are in place to address the system downtime; (2) Whether he will furnish Ms T A Khanyile with a list of branches that have been upgraded since 31 August 2021; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?
1. Various upgrades have been done at Front Offices, Bank Branches, Ports of Entry (Land, Airports, and Harbours), and Refugee Reception Centres.
a) On a late evening of Thursday, 31 March 2022, Live Capture access to the National Population Registration was severed due to a damaged network cable that connected the DHA Network to the SITA hosted Mainframe Systems, with the National Population Register being one of these systems. The fault was only picked up the following morning of Friday, 1 April 2022, by SITA engineers. The exact location of the cable damage was found after a lengthy cable tracing process, and the cable repair process was completed by SITA engineers at 13:40.
SITA was supposed to have picked the drop in connectivity the very evening of Thursday, 31 March 2022 as SITA operates a 24x7x365 Network Operations Centre.
b) SITA has committed to the following interventions to prevent reoccurrence of this incident:
(i) SITA technical teams is investigating the possibility of installing a redundant cable that will need to be routed via a different path in the data centre in order to provide higher availability.
(ii) SITA is reviewing the alerting, monitoring processes and procedures in order to ensure there is additional monitoring in place in the hosting and network environment which will trigger events to log incidents directly on the call logging system. SITA has also proposed end to end monitoring to DHA that will assist to proactively pick up potential risk areas, or specific failure locality impacting service delivery for quicker resolution, across the value chain.
A list of all upgrades done for the period in question (1 September 2021 to 25 April 2022) is available. The list is broken down by Office Name, Upgrade done, and Upgrade date.