Questions and Replies

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10 April 2024 - NW237

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Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Whether his department considered any alternative mechanisms that would not impact the economy of the Republic before the issuance by the Acting Director-General of his department of a circular on 21 December 2023, which required tourists who wished to extend their stay in the Republic to leave by 29 February 2024 if they have not received a response to their applications to extend their short-term visas; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

Honourable Member, I would like to draw your attention to the Media briefing held on 17 March 2024 in which I comprehensively clarified the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Circular and the steps taken by the Department to address any consequential concerns emanating therefrom. I have also previously addressed this matter in Parliament in February 2024 during the SONA Debate and on the occasion of the oral responses session of the JCPS Cluster held on 28 February 2023.

In my presentation on the occasion of the Media briefing which is attached as Annexure A, I further clarified how the Department would assist those short-term visa holders who applied, inter alia, for visa extensions and who still have not yet received their application outcomes, whether negative or positive. I must also refer you to paragraphs 2 – 4 supra on page 3 of the Media briefing in which clarity is given regarding the removal of undesirable status for those applicants who may have been purported to have overstayed.

At the time of the Media briefing, there were only 6 known cases received of persons who were negatively affected by the Circular. The Department will continue to assist and resolve these matters upon receipt of specific cases.

END

10 April 2024 - NW826

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Siwisa, Ms AM to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

With reference to the reply to question 490 on 14 March 2024, what (a) systems has (i) he and (ii) his department put in place to combat identity theft and (b) precautions are in place to prevent the involvement of officials of his department in identity theft?

Reply:

(a)& (b)

The following systems and precautionary measures are in place to prevent the involvement of officials of his department in identity theft:

  • In terms of the Departments’ Information Security Policy, a model built around proactive risk assessment and risk management, Biometric Access Control Management (BACM) system is in place, that all officials responsible for capturing transactions on the National Population Register system within the domain of the organization, are assigned with biometric fingerprint authentication, to detect and hold users liable for fraudulent activities and information stored digitally, at any point in the Department systems.
  • The Department in 2013 introduced and implemented the Live Capture system aimed at eliminating manual intervention by users, resulting in reduction of error rate and streamlining of business process for the issuance of Smart Identity Cards and Passports to citizens. The Department has also rolled out the system to 206 modernised offices. The Smart ID Card is engraved with security features that cannot be easily tampered with to prevent identity theft and fraud.
  • Furthermore, the Live Capture system entails an online verification feature whereby any member of a public is verified against the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS), when applying for enabling documents. Similarly, the banks that offer Home Affairs services, have online verification whereby they can verify the legitimacy of client’s fingerprints as they are linked to departmental systems
  • The Department reassessed the current business processes to close gaps identified within the passport application process. The department periodically reviews the passport security features in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards.

END

10 April 2024 - NW782

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1) What were the total hours lost at Home Affairs offices in each province due to (a) load shedding and (b) system downtime (i) in the past five years and (ii) since 1 January 2024 up to the latest specified date for which information is available; (2) what was the total percentage of uptime of the Home Affairs services system hosted by the State Information Technology Agency in each province (i) in the past five years and (ii) since 1 January 2024 up to the latest specified date for which information is available?

Reply:

1. The available information is attached as Annexure A.

2. The available information is attached as Annexure B.

END

10 April 2024 - NW709

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Malatsi, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Whether he will furnish Mr M S Malatsi with a (a) list and (b) full description of all events planned by his department to take place before 29 May 2024 in celebration of the 30 years of democracy in the Republic, including the (i) projected total cost or expenditure of each event and (ii) breakdown thereof in terms of expenditure for (aa) catering, (bb) entertainment, (cc) venue hire, (dd) transport and (ee) accommodation; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

(a)&(b) The Department of Home Affairs does not have plans for the 30 years of democracy in the Republic. Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) is the lead department and once the department is invited, it will participate.

END

03 April 2024 - NW188

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What is the total number of persons whose deportations were confirmed by a magistrate between 29 June 2019 and 30 October 2023, but were released due to issues with section 34 of the Immigration Act, Act 13 of 2002?

Reply:

There have been no releases of persons whose detention was confirmed because of issues with section 34(1)(b) and (d). The judgement in Lawyers for Human Rights vs Minister of Home Affairs and others CCT 38/16 on 29 June 2017, ordered the amendment of s34(1)(b) and (d) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act 13 of 2002) within 24 months of the order on 29 June 2019. However, all the magistrates’ courts continued to confirm the detention of illegal immigrants for deportation purposes beyond this date.

The non-application of section 34(1)(b) in some magistrates’ courts in the country commenced in February 2022. In ensuring the continuation of law enforcement from that date onwards, the illegal immigrants were charged criminally, as per the provisions of section 49(1) of the Immigration Act, 2002.

If found guilty, and upon serving a sentence of imprisonment or paying a fine, the deportation would be processed within 48 hours of release by an Immigration Officer. In instances where this was not possible within the stipulated timeframe, the illegal immigrant would be issued with an Order to Leave the Country, and thus self-deport.

Therefore, once the detention of an illegal immigrant has been confirmed as per section 34(1)(b), the only basis for not deporting the person would be that they expressed an intention to apply for asylum while awaiting deportation. Alternatively, the person’s legal representation would lodge an application in the High Court with jurisdiction, to review the final rejection of the asylum appeal in terms of Rule 53 of the Rules of Court.

END

03 April 2024 - NW531

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Montwedi, Mr Mk to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What (a) total number of duplicate identity documents have been reported to his department in 2023 and (b) time frames were put in place to resolve the duplicates?

Reply:

(a) The category of multiple persons sharing one identity number had 240 cases on hand at the beginning of the 2023/2024 financial year. Another 4882 duplicate cases were reported to date which brings the total to 5122 cases. A total of 4818 cases have been finalised, leaving a balance of 304.

For the category of one person with multiple ID numbers, there were 2946 cases on hand at the beginning of the 2023/24 financial year. Another 9389 cases were reported to date which brings the total cases to 12 335. A total of 10 414 cases have been finalised, leaving a balance of 1921.

(b) In accordance with the standard operating procedure there is a set timeframe of a minimum of eight 8 to 12 weeks provided for clients to submit documentary evidence through the front offices in order to conduct the investigation, and in the final analysis, resolve the duplicates.

END     

03 April 2024 - NW756

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Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What (a) are the reasons that (i) applicants for relative and/or spousal permits wait as long as two years for their permits and (ii) is the reason for the prolonged process and (b) number of applications for the specified permits has been outstanding in the past five years?

Reply:

(a)(i) Applicants for relative and/or spousal permits wait as long as two years for their visa due to the requirement that their notarial agreements and other documents such as birth certificates, bank statements and marriage certificates submitted as proof of existence of a spousal or parental relationship are verified. In order to establish the legitimacy of any relative and/ or spousal relationship for a visa application, the adjudication process requires that such relationships should be verified for authenticity. This includes verification of the notarial agreements and other supporting documents submitted in support of such applications with the issuing authority. In most cases the contact number of the purported South African spouse and/ or relative is also not provided, making it difficult to confirm with certainty that the South Africa Citizen is indeed party to the relationship.

(a)(ii) The reason for the prolonged process is due to the verification process of the legitimacy claims by the applicants.

(b) The Department has developed a Backlog Eradication Plan and the Plan was presented to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs. The Plan includes amongst other additional capacity to complement the current Immigration Services’ team. An additional 117 officials coming from Head Office and Provinces have been put together to deal with the Backlog Eradication Plan.

The Department through Operation Vulindlela has sought the support of the private sector to speed up verification of documents as verifications contribute to delays in the processing of visas.

END

03 April 2024 - NW679

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Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What is the total number of officials (a) suspended, (b) facing disciplinary hearings, (c) criminally charged, (d) reported to the SA Police Service for investigation, (e) convicted, (f) resigned, (g) whose employment has been terminated, (h) still employed, (i) blacklisted and will never be employed by any organ of state and (j) are facing no disciplinary and/or criminal action against them since the last financial year to date?NW820E

Reply:

(a) 11 officials are currently on precautionary suspension pending investigations, disciplinary hearings and/or appeal processes.

(b) 121 officials are facing disciplinary hearings

(c) 63 criminal cases were opened against officials at SAPS who investigates to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to criminally charge the implicated officials. 11 officials have been convicted so far. Investigations are still ongoing.

(d) 63 criminal cases were opened against officials.

(e) 11 Officials have been convicted so far.

(f) 2 officials resigned.

(g) 40 officials were dismissed due to misconduct.

(h) 121 officials are still employed.

(i) 42 officials have been blacklisted (blocked on Persal), and will never work in the Public Service again.

(j) 7397 officials are not facing any disciplinary actions.

END

27 March 2024 - NW458

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What number of (a) suspected illegal foreign nationals have been arrested in quarter 3 of the 2023-24 financial year, (b) those arrested was released from custody because his department failed to confirm their immigration status within the required 48 hours and (c) illegal foreign nationals was deported were?

Reply:

  1. The number of suspected illegal foreign nationals that have been arrested in quarter 3 of the 2023-24 financial year is 32572.
  2. The number of the released illegal foreign nationals during quarter 3 from Lindela Repatriation Centre is 69.
  3. The number of deported foreign nationals is 5148.

END.

27 March 2024 - NW678

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Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

With reference to the Multi-Disciplinary Task Team which was established to root out criminal behaviour within his department’s immigration services, what is the total number of officials identified to have allegedly committed unlawful and/or irregular activities or potential unlawful and/or irregular activities?

Reply:

  1. The Multi-Disciplinary Task Team (MDTT) has identified sixty-one (61) officials for disciplinary action in respect of potential irregular activities as at 29 February 2024 and;
  2. Two (2) criminal referrals to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) for investigation of potential unlawful activities.

END.

27 March 2024 - NW219

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Lekota, Mr M to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1) Whether his department has very substantially solved the technical problems and the repeated downtime, especially as a result of the (a) glitches with the State Information Technology Agency mainframe affecting access to the National Population Register, (b) sluggishness of the live capture functionality at the counter leading to delays in processing transactions and (c) obsolescence of equipment contributing to system downtime and hindering efficient service provision; if not, why not, in each case; if so, (i) how exactly and (ii) to what extent are the technical problems being solved; (2) whether he will make a statement on (a)(i) how and (ii) to what extent systems are being modernised and (b) how the rendering of services is therefore being sped up; if not, why not, in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case?

Reply:

(1)(a) In January, the Department of Home Affairs experienced a system downtime on the National Population Register (NPR) due to a glitch. SITA submitted an incident report and also took corrective actions to restore services. They are also replacing the infrastructure that contributed to the failure as part of their Modernisation program, which we believe will improve stability. The glitch was caused by a failure on the Telco equipment at the back-end of the system.

(1)(b) The NPR and LC (Live Capture) systems are currently responsive and accessible. However, due to power interruptions and bulk verifications, there may be some accessibility issues. To manage this, the Department is prioritising traffic between the systems and ensuring that bulk verifications are managed within the allotted thresholds.

(1)(c) SITA has started a Modernisation program for all its data center equipment, which hosts critical systems. Additionally, their primary mainframe and storage vendor is actively monitoring the performance of links on a 24/7 basis. SITA has also upgraded its mainframe hardware. Moreover, the Department and SITA are jointly developing an Application Programme Interface (API) to further manage and streamline the data verification process.

(2) The Department's Modernisation program aims to enhance the user experience and provide citizens with better access to Home Affairs-related services. To achieve this goal, critical applications and infrastructure are being upgraded, and access to and from these services is also being improved. Additionally, new channels, such as kiosks, mobile offices, mobile applications, and offices at banks and malls, are being introduced to facilitate ease of access to these services.

END.

22 March 2024 - NW655

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Tito, Ms LF to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Whether he has been informed that the Home Affairs office in Phuthaditjhaba in the Free State closes at 11:00 every morning due to downtime and water shortage, with members of the public being turned away without any assistance; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details in this regard?

Reply:

The Minister of Home Affairs was indeed informed in writing about service delivery challenges at the Phuthaditjhaba office. Water supply to the building was affected by a burnt water pressure pump on the galvanized water tank on top of the building. Municipal water supply was not reaching the building because there was no pressure at all. All bathrooms were not working due to no water supply.

As a result, and due to occupational health and safety considerations, the office started servicing clients from 07h30 in the morning and at 11h00 the office use to take the last group and close the door and serve the clients until they are all served, sometimes up to 14h30 or 15h30. However, the water supply to the building has been resolved and the office operates normal working hours until 16:00.

END.

22 March 2024 - NW453

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Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What total number of asylum transit visas has his department issued in terms of Section 23 of the Immigration Act, Act 13 of 2002, to asylum seekers in the (a) 2022-23 and (b) 2023-24 financial years?

Reply:

a) During the 2022/23 financial year, the Department of Home Affairs issued 30 asylum transit visas in terms of Section 23 of the Immigration Act, Act 13 of 2002.

b) In the 2023/24 financial year to date, the Border Management Authority issued 61 asylum transit visas in terms of Section 23 of the Immigration Act, Act 13 of 2002.

END.

19 March 2024 - NW568

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

With regard to the late registration of birth certificate applications in the 2022-23 financial year, what total number of applications were (a) lodged, (b) finalised and (c) of these applications, what number required DNA testing to prove parentage and (d) what was the average processing time of the applications?

Reply:

(a)(i) Applications lodged for Late Registration of Birth (LRB) for the category - 31 days to 15 years = 77 179

(a)(ii) Applications lodged for LRB applications for the category 15 years and above = 10 097

(b)(i) Applications finalised for the category - 31 days to 15 years = 70 651

(b)(ii) Applications finalised for LRB applications for the category 15 years and above = 6 714

c) Percentage of DNA Testing = Data in respect of DNA testing is not captured on the department’s Track & Trace system. Each birth registration would need to be extracted and analysed to determine if DNA testing was conducted.

d) Published turnaround time for LRB is 180 days. The average processing time of LRB is 3 months to 6 months. Processing times differ for each application, either due to investigations or verification of information obtained during the interview.

END.

19 March 2024 - NW564

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Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Ms T A Khanyile (DA) to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1) Whether he will furnish Ms T A Khanyile with the relevant detailed financial accounts of the revenue accrued from short-term visa applications processed in conjunction with VFS Global for the fiscal years (a) 2019-20, (b) 2020-21, (c) 2021-22, (d) 2022-23, and (e) since 1 April 2023; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details of each specified period; (2) what are the relevant details of the financial arrangements and revenue-sharing model between his department and VFS Global regarding these transactions?

Reply:

1.The information is tabulated hereunder: -

(1)

Financial year

Revenue collected by VFS for visa applications

(a)

2019-20

R44 393 680.00

(b)

2020-21

R19 932 830.00

(c)

2021-22

R31 969 065.00

(d)

2022-23

R33 754 185.00

(e)

2023-24 (as at 31 January 2024, unaudited)

R32 126 493.75

2. The visa facilitation services contract between VFS Global and Home Affairs is based on the user-pay model and not on a revenue-sharing model. VFS collects the prescribed visa and permit fee on behalf of Home Affairs and pays it over to the Department. This constitutes the revenue collected in the table above. VFS Global adds a service charge, also called a service fee, on each transaction. It is a fee collected to pay for services that relate to a product or service that is being purchased. In other words, a service charge is an additional charge for the service provided with the submission of a visa or permit application, product, or other auxiliary service. The service fee is approved by the Department. VFS Global does not get any share of the visa or permit fees (revenue) that are due to the Department.

END.

19 March 2024 - NW459

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What was the (a) average number of persons detained (b) total budget spent and (c) total number of detainees released, because they had not been deported in time at the Lindela Repatriation Centre for the 2022-23 financial year?

Reply:

  1. The average number of persons detained is 9595.
  2. The total budget spent: R35 443 197-41 in 2022/23 financial year.
  3. The total number of detainees released, because they had not been deported in time at the Lindela Repatriation Centre for the 2022-23 financial year is 53 .

END.

19 March 2024 - NW387

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Loate, Mr T to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1)Whether, in view of the fact that the National Treasury did not have the money to assist his department to obtain more money in order to employ more staff to have a contingency of at least 60% to operate optimally in sorting out visa applications, his department employed innovative and speedy measures to fasttrack the applications for 35 000 visas of persons who had legitimate spouses in the Republic and wanted to come and live in the country and seek employment here as well; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) what are the reasons that legitimate foreign spouses of South African citizens cannot have their visa applications speedily processed?

Reply:

1. The Department has developed a Backlog Eradication Plan and the Plan was presented to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs. The Plan includes amongst other additional capacity to complement the current Immigration Services’ team. An additional 117 officials coming from Head Office and Provinces have been put together to deal with the Backlog Eradication Plan.

The Department through Operation Vulindlela has sought the support of the private sector to speed up verification of documents as verifications contribute to delays in the processing of visas.

2. To establish the legitimacy of any spousal relationship for a visa application, the adjudication process requires that such relationships should be verified for authenticity. This includes the notarial agreements that are submitted in support of such applications. In most cases the contact number of the purported South African spouse is not provided, making it difficult to confirm with certainty that the South African citizen is indeed party to the relationship.

END.

19 March 2024 - NW338

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Engelbrecht, Mr J to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What are the full details of all (a) sponsorships, (b) donations and (c) financial transfers provided for lawfare and/or any other purposes to (i) him, (ii) his department and (iii) officials of his department by any (aa) Qatari, (bb) Iranian and/or (cc) Russian organ of state, organisation and/or resident since 1 January 2021 up to the latest date in 2024 for which information is available?

Reply:

No sponsorships, donations, or financial transfers have been provided for lawfare and or any other purposes to me, the Department, or any official in the Department by any Qatari, Iranian, or Russian organ of state/organisation since 1 January 2021 to date. The Department and I would not know whether any sponsorship, donation, or financial transfer for lawfare and or any other purpose was made by any Qatari, Iranian, or Russian organ of state /organisation to any resident from 1 January 2021 to date.

END.

19 March 2024 - NW308

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

With regard to the project to employ 10 000 graduates to digitise Home Affairs records, for every functional and operating office, (a) what are the respective locations of the offices where digitalisation will occur and (b) how many (i) graduates are currently employed in terms of the project and (ii) records have been digitised as at 31 August 2023?

Reply:

(a) The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will be utilising five buildings to digitise the 340 million records.

(b)(i) As per my reply in Parliamentary Question 2220, the recruitment of the 10,000 youth graduates is being rolled out in three phases. The advert for the first 1st 2000 cohort of unemployed graduates was published in the 2022/23 financial year, leading to the initial employment of 1405 graduates. This number has been decreasing due to youth finding better opportunities elsewhere. As of 31 January 2024, a total of 1142 youth were still in the employ of the Department and have been posted at various locations, in all provinces. The advert for the 2nd cohort closed on 03 March 2023 and yielded 2951 qualifying candidates out of the 439k applications received. In December 2023, the Department issued 2550 appointment letters to qualifying applicants. This brings the total number of young graduates employed for the digitisation project close to 3,700. The 3rd and last cohort of youth will be recruited in the 2024/25 financial year.

(b)(ii) As of 29 February 2024, the Department had digitised 31 419 990 images which translates to 714 016 records. Records consist of paper records and microfilms.

END.

19 March 2024 - NW307

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(a) What total amount of office hours were lost due to (i) load shedding, (ii) office closures, (iii) water outages, (iv) system downtime and (v) no online verification scanners at health facilities in quarter 3 of the 2023-24 financial year and (b) what was the total percentage of uptime of his department’s civic services system hosted by State Information Technology Agency?

Reply:

(a) The total amount of office hours lost in all Provincial Offices across the country due to load shedding, office closures, water outages, system downtime and no online verification scanners at health facilities in quarter 3 of the 2023-24 financial year is as follows:

(i) 6 106 hours (load shedding);

(ii) 34 hours (office closures);

(iii) 682 hours (water outages);

(iv) 8 645 hours (system downtime);

(v) 780 hours (no online verification scanners at health facilities).

(b) The DHA/SITA SLA covering all offices reflects as follows:

Month

Reachability (Network)

Availability (power)

October 2023

92.71%

95.07%

November 2023

88.75%

90.95%

December 2023

92.34%

94.17%

END.

19 March 2024 - NW185

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Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What is the current backlog of (a) asylum seekers awaiting status determination interviews, (b) asylum seekers who have appealed the status determination decision, and are awaiting a hearing with the refugee appeal authority, (c) asylum seekers who have submitted a review of their status determination decision to the standing committee of refugee affairs and are awaiting a decision, (d) refugees awaiting decisions on permanent residence applications and (e) foreign nationals awaiting permanent residence applications?

Reply:

(a) 617 active cases are still at the first instance adjudication phase as at 31 December 2023.

(b) Refugee Appeals Authority:

(i) Failed asylum seekers who lodged Notices of Appeal – 113 698

(ii) Failed asylum seekers booked for hearing – 2 710

(c) Reviews at SCRA awaiting decisions as at 19/02/2024: 6 774

(d) Refugees awaiting decisions on permanent residence applications: 2 924.

(e) Foreign nationals awaiting permanent residence applications: 44 488.

END

19 March 2024 - NW222

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Bongo, Adv BT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs:

Considering that corruption is one of the key areas the Government has prioritised to tackle, what progress has been made with the implementation of the recommendations of the (a) Lubisi Report and (b) Government Printing Works Ministerial Report?

Reply:

Honourable Member, I wish to refer you to two reports presented on 05 March 2024 to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs.

The said reports clearly outline progress with timeframes and figures on

(a) Lubisi Report and

(b) Government Printing Works’ Ministerial Report.

They are very detailed and will provide you with all you need to know.

END

19 March 2024 - NW599

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Malatsi, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

With reference to his reply to question 88 on 28 February 2023, what are the details of the (a) make, (b) model, (c) year of manufacture, (d) date of purchase and (e) purchase price paid for each vehicle purchased by his department for (i) him and (ii) the Deputy Minister since 8 May 2019?

Reply:

(i) Minister

(a) Isuzu MUX, (b) 3.0 DDI MU-X LSE A/T (c) 2023, (d) 15 November 2023 (e) R800 000.00 inclusive of VAT

(ii) Deputy Minister

(a) BMW (b) 520d (c) 2019 (d) 19 December 2019 (e) R668 000.00 inclusive of VAT

END.

14 March 2024 - NW457

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1)What number of (a) new-comer asylum applications have been processed in each refugee reception centre from quarter 1 to quarter 3 of the 2023-24 financial year and (b) applications were (i) granted refugee status and (ii) rejected as (aa) unfounded and (bb) manifestly unfounded; (2) what number of (a) asylum files have been processed through the funded backlog project of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, (b) the processed files have been granted refugee status and (c) backlog files processed have received a final rejection; (3) whether any of the rejected applications have been appealed through a judicial appeal at the high court; if not, why not; if so, what number from each refugee reception centre has been appealed through a judicial appeal?

Reply:

(1)(a) In the period 1 April 2023 to 31 December 2023 the Department processed 15 047 newcomer applications.

(1)(b)(i) 877 cases were granted status

(1)(b)(ii) (aa) 5009 Cases were adjudicated as Unfounded.

(bb) 8415 Cases were adjudicated as one of the Manifestly Unfounded categories for SCRA review

(2)(a) The total number of processed files for the Backlog Project is 10 890.

  • Hearings conducted: 3 910
  • Notices sent for No Shows: 894
  • Paper determinations: 167
  • No Show decisions: 406
  • Family Joining decisions: 201
  • Cancellations/ Withdrawal: 5 312

(2)(b) Of these processed files, 3 872 were rejected.

(2)(c) Of these processed files, 713 were granted refugee status.

(3) Of cases processed and finally rejected, some Appellants have launched Judicial Reviews in terms of Rule 53 of the Uniform Rules of Court. The total number of appeals under review is: 78

  • Desmond Tutu Refugee Centre: 59
  • Musina Refugee Centre: 5
  • Durban Refugee Centre: 9
  • Gqheberha Refugee Centre: 3
  • Cape Town Refugee Centre: 2

END:

14 March 2024 - NW218

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Lekota, Mr M to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1)Whether his department had solved the problem of long queues and denial of service on reaching the counter after a long time in the queue; if so, what (a) is the average waiting time for service, (b) measures are in place to check that those who are waiting in the queue will indeed be served without being asked to come back on another day, (c) was being done to ensure that the ticket allocation system is working smoothly and reliably 100% of the time, (d) control measures are in place to ensure that the system is the best it can be and (e) surveys are undertaken to ascertain any improvements should and must occur to satisfy the Batho Pele principle; if not, (i) which of the above are not being done and (ii) why; 2) what has been his findings on citizen satisfaction with the service provided by his department?

Reply:

(1)(a) The average waiting time inside an office is calculated per service as different types of services follow different process flows. Where all systems are working and the offices do not experience load shedding, which now affects network coverage in the offices, the average waiting period for pre-booked services is 7 minutes; for birth, marriage, and death services is 10 minutes and 15 minutes for walk-in services.

(1)(b) There is constant monitoring of the queues to check that those who are waiting in the queue will indeed be served without being asked to come back on another day. The queues are divided into product categories and floor/ queue walkers check the queues at regular intervals to see if clients are eligible to apply for the enabling documents and if so, have the correct supporting documents. This is to avoid clients queueing for long periods only to be turned back for not having the correct supporting documents. The total number of clients on the queue at any given time is also reported to management for resource planning purposes. Each official is allocated a specific period to process an application to keep up with the demand on the booking system and clients in the offices.

(1)(c) The ticket allocation system only operates on ID or passport numbers which are validated against the National Population Register before a ticket is issued to a client. This helps to eliminate illegal blocking and selling of slots by agents.

(1)(d) ID numbers or passport numbers are used as unique identifiers by the system. A valid cellphone number or email addresses is required from clients for verification purposes and sending the reference numbers. The system is able to detect any duplicate active booking.

(1)(e) The Department undertook the Home Affairs Customer Satisfaction Survey during the 2022/2023 financial year. The objectives of the study were to assess citizens’ perceptions and satisfaction level of services provided by the DHA, identify and document main problems in service delivery of the Department, document service areas which needs improvement and provide appropriate recommendations to the management of Home Affairs on ways in which service delivery in the selected study areas could be improved. The implementation plan for this study was developed and recommendations are currently being implemented.

(2) The findings of the 2022/2023 survey were as follows:

For Citizens’ perceptions and satisfaction level of services provided by the DHA

  • In summary, the 2022/2023 customer satisfaction research findings are a mixture of positive and negative news regarding DHA service delivery efforts across all service centers
  • 96% of the customers surveyed endorsed the DHA pricing structure as affordable.
  • When asked about the likelihood of recommending the DHA offices they visited using a scale where those who would recommend were captured as promoters, those neutral would be passives whilst those who would not recommend would be detractors. The majority of respondents (i.e. 82%) were DHA promoters whilst 6% were detractors, giving a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 76%. The higher the NPS is the healthier the brand. The main reasons mentioned by the minority that would not recommend DHA across all customer segments were poor customer service, slow customer service, and bad staff attitude.
  • Friendliness of Home Affairs officials was highlighted as the biggest challenge.
  • Most of the customers were serviced on the same day, however there were some who had to visit the Home Affairs more than once for the same service. For those who were not serviced on the same day their reasons were due to long queues, not having all the required documents and the system being offline.
  • The findings show a general improvement in queue management, with an increase of the scores across the different customer interaction points.
  • The DHA was generally praised for effectiveness – i.e. its capability to deliver expected output; and criticised for lack of efficiency.
  • The findings indicate that most DHA customers visit the DHA offices for the application of birth certificates and smart IDs.

For Customer Satisfaction Score (CSI)

  • Customer Satisfaction Score for each service channel was generally high with scores above 70%. However, harbours and airports had the highest satisfaction score of over 90% whereas refugee centers had the lowest score of 73%.
  • Inaccessibility, waiting in unmanaged queues for long hours, and unwelcoming staff attitude emerged as the most popular barriers to service excellence at Home Affairs offices. These also include the ability of staff to resolve queries, wait to get attention, and fair treatment.

Overall, DHA online processes were rated relatively high. However, lack of speed, particularly regarding receiving documents, and the payment process, emerged as the most popular barrier to online service excellence.

END

14 March 2024 - NW490

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Siwisa, Ms AM to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What steps has his department taken to fight the increase of identity theft cases in the Republic, where innocent individuals are left in debt due to their identities being fraudulently issued by officials within his department to persons with ill intent who use it to open credit accounts?

Reply:

Innocent individuals who find themselves in debt due to identity theft are informed by the creditors of their debts and if disputed, they are advised to report the matter to the SAPS for further investigation.

The Department has online verification services whereby any member of the public when applying for identification in the Department, the document is verified online to ensure authentication of the owner of the identity to be issued.

Banks have online verification platforms whereby they can verify the legitimacy of the fingerprints of the clients as they are linked to DHA systems.

All reported cases of corruption involving officials are analysed and investigated. Cases reported with elements of fraud and corruption are referred to SAPS for further handling.

If misconduct is detected, the case is referred to Employee Engagement for disciplinary processes.

The Department has also embarked on Awareness Campaigns regarding identity on both Internal and External platforms.

END

08 March 2024 - NW232

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Tetyana, Mr Y to ask the Minister of Home Affairs:

(1) With reference to his undertaking in his 2023-24 Home Affairs Budget Vote that his department had ordered 100 new mobile trucks to augment the ailing fleet of unused mobile units, what is the latest status report on the delivery and deployment of the new mobile service trucks; (2) whether the 100 new mobile services trucks have been operational since 1 January 2024; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

(1&2)

All one hundred (100) mobile offices have been delivered and are undergoing live capture systems’ installations and configurations and the process will be finalised by 31 March 2024. The minister will announce details of the distribution.

END

08 March 2024 - NW82

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1)What (a) progress has been made by the Council for Scientific and Industry Research (CSIR) on the development of an IT system for his department in five designated offices to address network challenges and (b) are the (i) main deliverables and (ii) due dates for each deliverable; (2) whether there are any sub-contractors involved in the project; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the full details of (a) the sub-contractors and (b) their contract value; (3) what are the reasons that the project did not go out on open tender?

Reply:

(1)(a) The progress made in the five designated offices is contained in the table in (b)(ii) below.

(1)(b)(i) The main deliverable of the Proof of Concept (PoC) is an overlay of the selected sites onto an alternative network.

(1)(b)(ii) The following activities were planned to achieve this deliverable: -

Activity

Responsible party

Due date

PoC site selection

CSIR + DHA

31 May 2023 (completed)

Physical PoC site surveys

CSIR

30 June 2023 (completed)

Procurement guidelines

CSIR + DHA

30 June 2023 (completed)

PoC site connection

DHA

30 June 2024 (in progress) – connections taking place in parallel, last site planned to be connected on 30 June 2024

Reporting

CSIR

30 September 2024 (in progress)

(2) CSIR did not appoint any sub-contractors; nor are there sub-contractors involved in the project. However, three service providers were appointed through an RFQ procurement process by the Department of Home Affairs in support of the CSIR project. Please refer to the contracted values below: -

Service Provider

Scope of Work

Contract value

Dark Fiber

Provide Fibre link with no services or data line (Dark fiber), as the standard to the following offices: Menlyn, Soshanguve, Umgeni, Wynberg and Potchefstroom; which terminate on an Optical Distribution Frame on either end of the link (ODF-to-ODF).

R2,896,918.00

Service Provider

Scope of Work

Contract value

Liquid Tech

Provide Fibre link with no services or data line (Dark fiber), with fibre class G652D as the standard to King Shaka International Airport which terminate on an Optical Distribution Frame on either end of the link (ODF-to-ODF).

R3,078,829.00

CBX Tech

Provide and install Nokia SAS-M 24F switch, with dual power supply (1 year Next business day onsite warranty) for the six sites.

R696,658.00

(3) The decision to deviate from the normal SCM processes and the SITA Act in the appointment of the CSIR was based on the fact the Department had requested SITA to appoint CSIR through a deviation process as the service is within the non-mandatory services to SITA, but SITA was advised by the National Treasury to let the Department transact directly with CSIR as the budget is from the Department. The Department then followed the deviation process due to the following:

• CSIR has an understanding and is familiar with the DHA IT environment;

• The project will assist with stabilising the IT environment and enable the Department to achieve its service delivery objectives; and

• The item is not a SITA mandatory service as it is intended to identify bottlenecks within the IT environment. Should the CSIR recommend new developments, SITA will be approached as the IT procurement agency of the State.

The Department operates in the security cluster and security considerations dictate the use of another Government entity / institution to conduct the systems downtime diagnostics rather than any bidder in the open market.

END

08 March 2024 - NW236

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs:

What progress has been made by his department to facilitate the issuing of Smart Identity Documents to (a) South Africans born abroad and (b) naturalised citizens since the undertaking of the Director-General of his department during the meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on 10 October 2023?

Reply:

a) Qualifying South Africans born abroad may apply for Smart IDs in the country, as there is no live capture solution at the embassies.

b) The Department commenced on 5 December 2023 with the pilot project of issuance of Smart ID Cards to naturalised citizens. This process involves the verification of the issued naturalisation certificates. Communication through email, WhatsApp, and letters have been sent to naturalised citizens to visit any DHA office.

END

07 March 2024 - NW189

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

With reference to magistrates refusing to entertain enquiries pertaining to section 34 of the Immigration Act, Act 13 of 2002, which were lodged between 29 June 2019 and 30 October 2023, what total number of persons detained (a) as illegal foreigners were released and (b) for the purposes of deportation were held beyond 30 days without appearing before a magistrate?

Reply:

The non-application of section 34(1)(b) of the Immigration Act, 2002 in some magistrates’ courts in the country commenced in February 2022, and not on the lapse of the court order on 29 November 2019.

  1. The illegal immigrants who were not confirmed in court in terms of section 34(1)(b) were not released, but charged criminally as per the provisions of section 49(1) of the Immigration Act, 2002.
  2. No person whose illegal status in the country has been verified is detained beyond 48hrs without appearing before a magistrate. Should it be clear that the court appearance will not be possible, the person is released before the end of that period. Therefore, no illegal immigrant is detained for up to 30 days without ever Appearing before a magistrate.

END.

07 March 2024 - NW187

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What is the percentage of deaths that have been registered with his department within 72 hours in (a) 2019, (b) 2020, (c) 2021, (d) 2022 and (e) 2023?

Reply:

The percentage of deaths registered within 72 hours in each of the following years:

a) 2019: 67%

b) 2020: 68,90%

c) 2021: 66,48%

d) 2022: 65,79%

e) 2023: 66,36%

END.

07 March 2024 - NW161

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Smalle, Mr JF to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What is the total number of deaths registered in the (a) 2021-22 and (b) 2022-23 financial years in each province?

Reply:

a) Total number of deaths registered in the 2021-22 financial year in each province is: -

PROVINCE

TOTAL

EASTERN CAPE

81649

FREE STATE

35399

GAUTENG

122328

HEAD OFFICE

10209

KWAZULU-NATAL

100300

LIMPOPO

56346

MPUMALANGA

38570

NORTH WEST

35297

NORTHERN CAPE

19883

WESTERN CAPE

67828

TOTAL

567809

b) Total number of deaths registered in the 2022-23 financial year in each province is: -

PROVINCE

TOTAL

EASTERN CAPE

73184

FREE STATE

27677

GAUTENG

109770

KWAZULU-NATAL

87070

LIMPOPO

46226

MPUMALANGA

31377

NORTH WEST

27082

NORTHERN CAPE

15337

WESTERN CAPE

55775

TOTAL

473498

END.

07 March 2024 - NW184

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Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1)Whether, with reference to his reply to question 4076 on 8 January 2024, in which he did not provide the details of the backlog of processing applications for temporary residence visas, he will furnish Ms T A Khanyile with full details of the current backlog of processing applications for temporary residence visas as at the latest specified date for which information is available; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) (a) what exactly is meant by “moving” the older Temporary Residency Visa applications from 2022 concurrently with the current applications of 2023 and (b) how will that assist in dealing with the backlog?

Reply:

1. The Department has 17 visa categories. As of 31 January 2024, the total number of Critical Skills, Business, and General Work Visas that form part of the annual performance plan have no backlogs.

The delays and backlogs are on two visa categories, they are section 11 (6) and Section 18. They are for spousal and relative visas respectively. The department experiences challenges regarding the legitimacy of relationships being claimed or cited in the application. It must be noted that some foreign nationals take advantage and follow corrupt methods to legitimise themselves, family members, friends, and others. The backlog in this category is 41083.

Fraudulent marriages, marriages of convenience, and a special category of cohabitation are unfortunately on the increase. The department has to prove the legitimacy of these relationships as well as their notarial contracts.

It is widely known that the department does not have sufficient capacity such as immigration officers who have to be tasked in investigating the authenticity of such relationships. Without proving the authenticity of such documents the department will end up issuing visas to people who do not deserve to be in the country.

2. The backlog plan aims to work on and finalise both the old and new applications to avoid creating another backlog with the latest applications/workflow.

END

07 March 2024 - NW28

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What (a) is the current backlog of visa processing since 1 January 2023, (b) is the breakdown of the specified backlog in each visa category, (c) is the average waiting period for each visa category and (d) are the reasons that visitors are not allowed to extend their visas past the initial 90 days granted?

Reply:

(a)(b) the DHA has 17 visa categories. The other categories are Critical, and General worker's visas have no backlog, however, the Spousal visa category backlog stands at 41083, which is section 11 (6).

The delays and backlogs are on two visa categories, they are section 11 (6) and Section 18. They are for spousal and relative visas respectively. The department experiences challenges concerning the legitimacy of relationships being claimed or cited in the application. It must be noted that some foreign nationals take advantage and follow corrupt methods to legitimise themselves, family members, friends, and others.

Fraudulent marriages, marriages of convenience, and a special category of cohabitation are unfortunately on the increase. The department has to prove the legitimacy of these relationships as well as their notarial contracts.

It is widely known that the department does not have sufficient capacity such as immigration officers who have to be tasked in investigating the authenticity of such relationships. Without proving the authenticity of such documents the department will end up issuing visas to people who do not deserve to be in the country.

(c) The average waiting period is stipulated in the DHA Service Delivery Charter which is available online. For example, the turnaround time for PRP is 8 months.

(d) In terms of Section 11 (1) (a) of the Immigration Act, provides that

(1) A visitor’s visa may be issued for any purpose other than those provided in sections 13 to 24, and subject to subsection (2), by the Director General in respect of a foreigner who complies with section 10A and provides the financial or other guarantees prescribed in respect of his or her departure, provided that such visa’ may not exceed three months and upon application may be renewed by the Director General for a further period which shall not exceed three months.

Further, applicants that have applied for extensions that are under consideration by the Department remain legal in the country pending finalisation of their applications. This is in line with our legislative prescripts as passed by the legislature.

END

07 March 2024 - NW250

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Home Affairs:

What is the total number of officials of his department who have been (a) caught and (b) prosecuted for corruption, such as selling documents, and/or working with syndicates from 1 January 2019 until the latest specified date for which information is available?

Reply:

(a & b) The information is tabulated below:

Year

Number of Cases received

Arrests

Convictions

2019 - 2020

283

6

None

2020 – 2021

193

5

None

2021 – 2022

232

27

01

2022 – 2023

206

48

09

2023 – 2024

266

40

02

END

07 March 2024 - NW251

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Home Affairs:

What is the current status of the backlog and/or delays of the (a) processing and (b) issuing of visas as at 1 February 2024? QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY QUESTION NO. 251 DATE OF PUBLICATION: FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2024 INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER 4 – 2024 251.Ms L L van der Merwe (IFP) to ask the Minister of Home Affairs: [51] [Question submitted for oral reply now placed for written reply because it is more than quota (Rule 137(8))] What is the current status of the backlog and/or delays of the (a) processing and (b) issuing of visas as at 1 February 2024? NO283E REPLY: (a) (b) The Department has 17 visa categories. As of 31 January 2024, the total number of Critical Skills, Business, and General Work Visas that form part of the annual performance plan have no backlogs. The delays and backlogs are on two visa categories, they are section 11 (6) and Section 18. They are for spousal and relative visas respectively. The department experiences challenges concerning the legitimacy of relationships being claimed or cited in the application. It must be noted that some foreign nationals take advantage and follow corrupt methods to legitimise themselves, family members, friends, and others. The backlog in this category is 41083. Fraudulent marriages, marriages of convenience, and a special category of cohabitation are unfortunately on the increase. The department has to prove the legitimacy of these relationships as well as their notarial contracts. It is widely known that the department does not have sufficient capacity such as immigration officers who have to be tasked in investigating the authenticity of such relationships. Without proving the authenticity of such documents the department will end up issuing visas to people who do not deserve to be in the country. END

Reply:

(a) (b) The Department has 17 visa categories. As of 31 January 2024, the total number of Critical Skills, Business, and General Work Visas that form part of the annual performance plan have no backlogs.

The delays and backlogs are on two visa categories, they are section 11 (6) and Section 18. They are for spousal and relative visas respectively. The department experiences challenges concerning the legitimacy of relationships being claimed or cited in the application. It must be noted that some foreign nationals take advantage and follow corrupt methods to legitimise themselves, family members, friends, and others. The backlog in this category is 41083.

Fraudulent marriages, marriages of convenience, and a special category of cohabitation are unfortunately on the increase. The department has to prove the legitimacy of these relationships as well as their notarial contracts.

It is widely known that the department does not have sufficient capacity such as immigration officers who have to be tasked in investigating the authenticity of such relationships. Without proving the authenticity of such documents the department will end up issuing visas to people who do not deserve to be in the country.

END

07 March 2024 - NW259

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Hendricks, Mr MGE to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Whether he intends acting against any persons who obtained their South African citizenship by naturalisation in terms of the South African Citizenship Act, 1995, Act No 88 of 1995, who is rendering services under a foreign flag in a plausible genocide that the Republic does not support or agree with after such persons neither applied for permission and/or were declined permission to render such services in the commission of plausible acts of genocide; if not, why not; if so what steps does he intend to take? QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY QUESTION NO. 259 DATE OF PUBLICATION: FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2024 INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER 4 – 2024 259.Mr M G E Hendricks (Al Jama-ah) to ask the Minister of Home Affairs: [61] [Question submitted for oral reply now placed for written reply because it is more than quota (Rule 137(8)] Whether he intends acting against any persons who obtained their South African citizenship by naturalisation in terms of the South African Citizenship Act, 1995, Act No 88 of 1995, who is rendering services under a foreign flag in a plausible genocide that the Republic does not support or agree with after such persons neither applied for permission and/or were declined permission to render such services in the commission of plausible acts of genocide; if not, why not; if so what steps does he intend to take?NO296E REPLY: Section 6 of the South African Citizenship Act 88 of 1995 makes a provision for Loss of citizenship” and subsection (3) specifies as follows:” “Any person who obtained South African citizenship by naturalisation in terms of this Act shall cease to be a South African citizen if he or she engages, under the flag of another country, in a war that the Republic does not support.” END

Reply:

Section 6 of the South African Citizenship Act 88 of 1995 makes a provision for Loss of citizenship” and subsection (3) specifies as follows:”

“Any person who obtained South African citizenship by naturalisation in terms of this Act shall cease to be a South African citizen if he or she engages, under the flag of another country, in a war that the Republic does not support.”

END

07 March 2024 - NW309

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1)How many of the Operation Vulindlela recommendations relating to his department have been implemented during the targeted time frame; (2) (a) which recommendations, if any, have not been implemented and (b) what are the reasons for failure to implement all recommendations; (3) whether his department intend to implement any of the outstanding recommendations; if not, why not; if so, what are the (a) relevant details and (b) time frames for the implementation of those recommendations?

Reply:

1. Five Operation Vulindlela recommendations were implemented fully during the targeted timeframe.

2. The remaining three recommendations are being processed as they relate to:

a) Firstly, it’s the introduction of new visa categories to cater for remote workers and start-ups. Secondly, it is the expansion of the DHA capacity in Immigration Services and the Third, is modernising IT systems.

b) The DHA is making progress with regard to the remaining three recommendations which can be recorded as follows: The amendment of Immigration regulations for new visa categories was published on 08 February 2024 for public comments until 29 March 2024. The regulations will be finalised after the public consultation process. With regards to DHA capacity, the Department recently received an allocation from the National Treasury to increase its capacity but will take longer to reach the desired level. In terms of modernising IT systems, the DHA is working on a modernisation programme that seeks to modernise IT systems.

3. (a) (b)Yes, the department has committed to the Presidency to implement all the recommendations and is in the process of doing so within the targeted timeframes of Operation Vulindela.

END

07 March 2024 - NW278

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Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Whether, with reference to his reply to question 3898 on 21 December 2023, his department has any plans, other than the funding from the European Union, to capacitate the Refugee Appeal Authority of South Africa to work through the remaining backlog of appeals; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

In my previous response I indicated that the Refugee Appeals Authority (RAASA) Backlog Project had 30 legally qualified members that were remunerated from the funding from the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR). Unfortunately, the number of members decreased to 22 later. Due to limited funding received from the UNHCR, the Backlog Project is currently left with only 10 members as the rest of the members’ (12) contracts of employment were terminated in December 2023.

The future plan is to have two (2) RAASA members stationed at each of the five (5) Refugees Centres in the Republic at all material times. This will in essence go a long way in preventing the recurrence of further backlogs.

END

07 March 2024 - NW227

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Mogale, Mr T to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY QUESTION NO. 227 DATE OF PUBLICATION: FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2024 INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER 4 – 2024 227.Mr T Mogale (EFF) to ask the Minister of Home Affairs: [19] [Question submitted for oral reply now placed for written reply because it is more than quota (Rule 137(8)]s: (a) What number of mobile units of his department are operational in the Free State and (b) in which areas do the mobile units operate?NO250E REPLY: (a)There are currently eleven (11) mobile units in the Department of Home Affairs in the Free State. (b)Mobile units are stationed in the following areas: Bloemfontein services Dewetsdorp, Wepener, Soutpan, Glen and Bainsvlei. Botshabelo services Hobhouse, Excelsior, Tweespruit, Thaba Pachoa. Koffiefontein services Oppermansgronde, Jacobsdal, Petrusburg, Fauresmith, Jagersfontein, Trompsburg, Philippolis, Edenburg, Reddersburg, Bethulie, Springfontein, Gariepdam and Luckhoff. Zastron services Smithfield, Vanstadensrus and Rouxville. Bultfontein services Boshof, Wesselsbron, Hoopstad, Dealasville, Brandfort and Hertzogville. Welkom services Windburg, Ventersburg, Henneman, Odendaalsrus, Virginia, Theunissen, Verkeerdevallei and Windburg. Kroonstad services the Steynsrus, Vredefort, Edenville, Koppies, Heilbron and Viljoenskroon. Sasolburg services Villiers, Cornelia, Deneysville, Oranjeville and Frankfort. Phuthaditjhaba services Kerstell and Phuthaditjhaba. Harrismith services Memel, Swenbam, Roadside, Verkykerskop, Magolokweng Intabazwe, Tshiame A.B.C. Diyatalawa and Warden. Bethlemen services Lindley, Arlington, Clocalan, Reitz, Fouriesburg, Clarence, Paul Roux, Marquard, Rosendal, Meatz, Danielsrus Senekel, Libertasie, Kransfontein, Tweeling and Petrussteyn. END

Reply:

(a) There are currently eleven (11) mobile units in the Department of Home Affairs in the Free State.

(b) Mobile units are stationed in the following areas:

  • Bloemfontein services Dewetsdorp, Wepener, Soutpan, Glen and Bainsvlei.
  • Botshabelo services Hobhouse, Excelsior, Tweespruit, Thaba Pachoa.
  • Koffiefontein services Oppermansgronde, Jacobsdal, Petrusburg, Fauresmith, Jagersfontein, Trompsburg, Philippolis, Edenburg, Reddersburg, Bethulie, Springfontein, Gariepdam and Luckhoff.
  • Zastron services Smithfield, Vanstadensrus and Rouxville.
  • Bultfontein services Boshof, Wesselsbron, Hoopstad, Dealasville, Brandfort and Hertzogville.
  • Welkom services Windburg, Ventersburg, Henneman, Odendaalsrus, Virginia, Theunissen, Verkeerdevallei and Windburg.
  • Kroonstad services the Steynsrus, Vredefort, Edenville, Koppies, Heilbron and Viljoenskroon.
  • Sasolburg services Villiers, Cornelia, Deneysville, Oranjeville and Frankfort.
  • Phuthaditjhaba services Kerstell and Phuthaditjhaba.
  • Harrismith services Memel, Swenbam, Roadside, Verkykerskop, Magolokweng Intabazwe, Tshiame A.B.C. Diyatalawa and Warden.
  • Bethlemen services Lindley, Arlington, Clocalan, Reitz, Fouriesburg, Clarence, Paul Roux, Marquard, Rosendal, Meatz, Danielsrus Senekel, Libertasie, Kransfontein, Tweeling and Petrussteyn.

END

07 March 2024 - NW221

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Chabane, Mr MS to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Considering that his department had issued directives to extend the validity of the exemption permits for nationals from Lesotho and Zimbabwe, what are the plans to finally deal with the matter of the (a) Zimbabwe Exemption Permit and (b) Lesotho Special Permit?

Reply:

The Department is implementing the Directive issued by the Minister on 29 November 2023.

In this regard, both Lesotho and Zimbabwean nationals have started applying for the extension in line with the Directive. The new exemption permits will not be renewable (see paragraph 5.6 of the Minister’s press statement on the granting of exemptions to the Lesotho and Zimbabwean nationals in terms of Section 39 (2) of the Immigration Act No.13 of 2002).

END

28 February 2024 - NW71

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Joseph, Mr D to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What (a) progress has been made to relocate the Home Affairs office in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, (b) are the challenges causing the delay of the relocation project and (c) are the details of the service delivery benefits that his department will offer after relocation?

Reply:

a) In terms of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act of 2007 (GIAMA), the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) is responsible for the sourcing of office accommodation on behalf of government departments. To that end the DPWI issued a bid for alternative accommodation in December 2018. Following the successful conclusion of the bid process, a contractor was appointed on 9 January 2020 to build a new office for the Department of Home Affairs.

b) In addition to the protracted procurement and contracting processes at DPW&I, it took time to obtain the necessary approvals for the building plans from the City of Cape Town. These challenges are now resolved and building works have commenced on site.

c) The new office will provide the community of Mitchells Plain with the full ambit of services available at any of the modernised Home Affairs offices. These include the issuance of Smart ID Cards, passports and the registration of births, marriages and deaths. In addition, the new office will address the health and safety issues raised in respect of the existing office infrastructure and will provide sufficient waiting area for clients as well as adequate working areas for the department’s officials.

END

28 February 2024 - NW27

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van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

(1)What (a) number of (i) refugees and (ii) asylum seekers have been living in the Republic since 1 January 2024 and (b) is the breakdown of the countries the specified refugees and asylum seekers come from; (2) what number of foreign nationals are in possession of temporary refugee and/or asylum seeker documentation; (3) what is the current average time it takes before a decision is communicated to confirm or deny the status of a refugee and/or asylum seeker based on temporary documentation?

Reply:

(1)(i) Below is the total number of refugees (Section 24 holders) with a valid visa as at 1 January 2024:

Country

Total

Afghanistan

5

Algeria

3

Angola

21

Egypt

4

Burundi

2383

Benin

3

Bangladesh

169

Bahamas

1

Cambodia

1

Central African Republic

8

Chad

2

Cameroon

291

Congo

3739

DRC

19834

Comoros

1

Cuba

1

Eritrea

1317

Estonia

3

Ethiopia

13401

Palestine

30

Ghana

3

Guinea Bissau

10

Ivory Coast

17

India

2

Iran

1

Iraq

7

Jordan

3

Kenya

118

Liberia

45

Sri Lanka

9

Macau

2

Mali

3

Malawi

7

Morocco

1

Niger

3

Nigeria

7

Oman

1

Pakistan

5

Russia

9

Rwanda

918

Senegal

2

Sierra Leone

12

Solomon Islands

6

Somalia

20743

Saint Kitts and Nevis

1

Sudan

71

Swaziland

9

Sweden

1

Syria

39

Tanzania

25

East Timor

4

Togo

9

Türkiye

4

Uganda

407

Ukraine

2

Yemen

4

Zambia

51

Zimbabwe

3373

Total

67151

(1)(ii) Below is the total of Section 22 holders (Asylum seekers) with a valid visa as at 1 January 2024:

Country

Total

Afghanistan

10

Algeria

42

Angola

4

Egypt

88

Australia

1

Bahrain

2

Burundi

5228

Benin

10

Bangladesh

9239

Bahamas

5

Burkina Faso

11

Botswana

1

Bosnia

1

Central African Republic

2

Chad

1

China

13

Cameroon

735

Congo

3206

DRC

22298

Comoros

8

Colombia

1

Eritrea

823

Estonia

2

Ethiopia

25624

Gabon

7

Gambia

7

Palestine

3

Ghana

584

Guinea Bissau

4

Guinea

14

Croatia

1

Hungary

3

Ivory Coast

33

India

1846

Ireland

1

Iran

3

Iraq

1

Israel

3

Jamaica

2

Jordan

9

Kenya

396

Liberia

26

Libya

1

Lesotho

4

Sri Lanka

6

Mali

32

Malaysia

1

Malawi

627

Morocco

3

Mozambique

39

Mayotte

1

Nepal

76

Netherlands

1

Niger

153

Nigeria

1468

New Zealand

1

Pakistan

3249

Russia

1

Rwanda

807

Senegal

235

Sierra Leone

5

Somalia

4406

Saint Kitts and Nevis

1

Sudan

33

Suriname

1

Slovenia

1

Swaziland

2

Syria

13

Tanzania

226

Thailand

7

East Timor

2

Togo

5

Türkiye

7

Uganda

1785

Ukraine

2

Uruguay

1

Wallis and Futuna

1

Yemen

5

Zambia

100

Zimbabwe

3365

Total

86971

2. For the current financial year, the Department makes a first instance decision on average within 7 days with more than 90% of cases adjudicated within 30 days.

3. In terms of the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs (SCRA) on average, it takes 180 days to review all matters submitted to SCRA. Currently due to high volumes of matters designated as manifestly unfounded, fraudulent and abusive, SCRA has less than 50 cases which have exceeded 180 days.

The Refugee Appeals Authority of South Africa (RAASA) is a tribunal and its adjudication and finalisation of appeal cases is a bit complex. Over the years, RAASA became inundated with appeals which escalated around the period 2008, leading to the current backlog.

Every appeal case with its complexities is adjudicated on its own merits and the time to finalise thereof differs from one case to the other. However, individual members of the RAASA conduct about 3-5 appeal hearings a day to eradicate the backlog and this is subject to the Asylum Seeker honouring the set down date.

END

08 January 2024 - NW4019

Profile picture: van der Merwe, Ms LL

van der Merwe, Ms LL to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Considering that he has admitted that his department records more than 2,000 fake marriages to foreign nationals annually, what (a) new enhanced measures are in place to verify that a marriage between a South African citizen and a foreign national is genuine and not merely a transaction and (b)(i) steps have been taken to nullify the 2 000 fake marriages per year and (ii) are the full, relevant details in this regard?

Reply:

Honourable Member, it may be very important for me to explain how the figure of about 2000 fake marriages comes about.

These are divided into three main categories; the first category is real fake marriages whereby a Home Affairs official is involved in facilitating a marriage that does not exist. The official gets paid money by the prospective spouse (usually male) who wants documents to sojourn in South Africa through marriage.

Due to the system of BACM (Biometric Access Control Management), a Home Affairs official who practices this type of corruption will not register this marriage on the National Population Register because their fingerprints are needed to do so. Hence it is very easy to pick up this type of marriage once a complaint is made, because of its absence from the Register.

The second category, which is by far the biggest category, is marriages of convenience. This is when the couple agrees to get legitimately married whereby one spouse (usually a foreign male) pays money to the other spouse (usually a South African lady) in return for getting documents to sojourn in South Africa via marriage. It is wrongly believed by both spouses that after the transactions have been completed the South African spouse will then approach Home Affairs to ‘cancel’ the marriage on the basis that it is fake. However, our investigations usually reveal their fingerprints, addresses, and photos which are legitimate on the marriage documents. In this case, we advise them to go to court to start divorce proceedings. Many of them cry foul and publicly blame the Department of Home Affairs.

The third category is whereby an ID of a South African (usually a lady) is stolen and used to go and register a marriage with a foreign spouse.

a) Our measures are the following:

  • BACM discourages corrupt officials from registering a marriage on the National Population Register because they will be caught out through their fingerprints
  • Introduction of the new Marriage Register (DHA-30) which requires biometrics from the couple at the same time.
  • Extensive interviews are conducted with the couple before registration of marriage.
  • Letter of non-impediment must be submitted by the foreign prospective spouse to prove that they are not married back home. Such a letter must be written by the Department of Foreign Affairs of the country of origin of the prospective spouse.

b) (i)(ii) Any marriage that is not on the NPR is immediately annulled. Those that are legal but are marriages of convenience, we as Home Affairs are unable to do anything about them. The couple themselves must go to court to divorce, where we have proof that an ID was stolen we also annul the marriage.

From January 2023 to November 2023, 1 614 fraudulent marriages were encountered and 1102 have been expunged. The remainder are still under further investigation.

Reply: Approved / Not Approved

 

Dr PA Motsoaledi, MP

Minister of Home Affairs

Date:

08 January 2024 - NW4076

Profile picture: Khanyile, Ms AT

Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What is the current backlog of processing applications for temporary residence visas at his department?

Reply:

Honourable Member, this question of visa backlogs was responded to in September 2023 and seems to be appearing again two months later. But it is also appearing in the media in various forms.

The central claim by various media houses, individuals and sometimes even companies, or organisations is that the department of home affairs is causing economic stagnation and contributing largely to unemployment by delaying the processing of visas.

I wish to take this opportunity to clarify matters in this regard.

Contrary to popular belief,the department has no undue delays on visas that impacts directly on the economy and employment. The delays and the backlogs are on two special categories of visas which I will elaborate on below,

The majority of applications received for temporary Residence visa are categories that belongs to section 11 (6) and Section 18. These sections denote to spousal visas and relative visas respectively as enacted in the Immigration Act (Act 13 of 2002).

The department is not just deliberately delaying the processing of such visas.

The department is experiencing significant and ever increasing challenges with regards to legitimacy of relationships being claimed or cited as a reason for applying for these visas.

Some foreign nationals have taken advantage and gets into corruption to legitimise themselves, family members, friends and others.

The number of fraudulent marriages, marriages of convenience and a special category of cohabitation are unfortunately on the increase.

The category of cohabitation is even more problematic and easily attracts corruption because all that two people claiming to be staying with each other need to produce is a contract written by the notary public (notarial contract). There is nothing in law that forbids two people to legitimise their relationship through a notarial contract. The problem is that some of the contracts presented to the department looks very suspicious and warrants a thorough investigation when such applications are processed. More worryingly, spousal visa applications based on the notarial contracts are on the increase.

It is common cause that the department does not have enough Immigration officers who have to be tasked with the difficult job of investigating authenticity of relationships. Yet, without knowing whether relationships are authentic, the department will find itself issuing visas to people who do not deserve to be in the country.

As of 14 December 2023, approximately 86 per cent of the backlog consists of this relationship visas.

The department has developed a plan to address the backlog. The plan aims to move the older Temporary Residency Visa applications from 2022 concurrently with the current applications of 2023.

Reply: Approved / Not Approved

Dr PA Motsoaledi, MP

Minister of Home Affairs

Date:

21 December 2023 - NW3898

Profile picture: Khanyile, Ms AT

Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Considering that in 2019 the Refugee Appeals Authority South Africa (RAASA) entered into an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) for a backlog project, what total number of (a) RAASA members (i) were hired and (ii) remain employed and (b) appeal hearings have been (i) heard and (ii) decided after a hearing by the specified members?

Reply:

The Four-Year Partnership Agreement is between the Department of Home Affairs and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Agreement was signed on 8 March 2021 paving the way for the implementation of Plan 2019: Backlog Project.

A (i) At the heart of Plan 2019, was the recruitment of 36 legally qualified Refugee Appeals Authority of South Africa (RAASA) members to assist with the adjudication and finalisation of Backlog Appeal cases. A total of thirty (30) Members were recruited at different times of the project in 2021. The Project was never fully capacitated with 36 Members due to UNHCR’s financial constraints.

(ii) During the recruitment process, we preferred lawyers who actually practised on arguing cases in court. However, the number has decreased to twenty-two (22) because many lawyers who abandoned their practices during the Covid lockdown have now resigned to go back to their practices since the lockdown is over

The UNHCR has first informed that they no longer have money, however, the EU (European Union) has agreed to help but can only fund ten (10) members. The result is that 12 members’ contracts will have to be terminated.

B (i) A total number of hearings conducted: 3 439.

(ii) A total number of finalised decisions: 3 626. (This figure includes paper determinations, “No Show” decisions, and family joining)

The total number of finalised appeal cases including cancellations/withdrawals of asylum claims: 8 380.

END

21 December 2023 - NW4211

Profile picture: Roos, Mr AC

Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Whether his department plays a role in the accreditation of venues as voting stations for eligible South African citizens abroad; if not, why not; if so, what mechanisms and/or protocols are followed to accredit a venue that is not an embassy, High Commission or a Consulate of the Republic as a voting station?

Reply:

The Department of Home Affairs plays no role in the accreditation of venues as voting stations for eligible South African citizens abroad. Sections 33(3) and 33(4) of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998, determine the location of voting stations outside of the country at South African Embassies, High Commissions, and Consulates.

END

21 December 2023 - NW4210

Profile picture: Roos, Mr AC

Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Whether his department plays a role in the Independent Electoral Commission’s online application process for a special vote abroad; if not, why not; if so, what are the reasons that the process does not require applicants to provide their current physical addresses?

Reply:

The Department of Home Affairs plays no role in the online application process beyond confirming the citizenship status of the supplied identity number. The duty to register voters, compile and maintain a voters’ roll is in terms of section 5 (e) of the Electoral Commission Act 51 of 1996 read with section 5 of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 within the sole remit of the Electoral Commission.

Voters who register to be included in an international segment of the voters’ roll are not required to provide their physical addresses because they are registered against a South African mission and the mission constitutes a component of the international segment of the voters’ roll for purposes of elections of the National Assembly.

END

21 December 2023 - NW4209

Profile picture: Roos, Mr AC

Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

What process does his department follow in removing persons who have (a) denounced and (b) lost/forfeited their South African citizenship from the population register; (2) whether there is any backlog in removing persons from the population register; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) what is the total number of persons that constitute the backlog and (b) on what date is it envisaged that the backlog will be eradicated?

Reply:

(1)(a) When an applicant applies for renunciation and submits a guarantee letter, [of a pending offer of citizenship by another country] the applicant is issued with a renunciation letter, and his/her ID number is converted from a SA citizen ID number to a non-SA citizen ID number.

(1)(b) Same as above.

(2)(a) There is no backlog.

2(b) Not applicable

 

END

21 December 2023 - NW3784

Profile picture: Khanyile, Ms AT

Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

With reference to the constitutional defects of section 34(1)(b) and (d) of the Immigration Act, Act No 13 of 2002, which were highlighted in the judgment handed down by the Constitutional Court on 29 June 2017 but suspended the declaration of invalidity for 24 months that expired on 29 June 2019, what total number of (a) persons were (i) detained for the purposes of deportation between 29 June 2019 and 30 October 2023 and (ii) deportations were confirmed and (b) court cases (i) have been initiated against Home Affairs concerning the (aa) detention for purposes of deportation, (bb) prevention of confirmation of deportation and (cc) confirmation of deportation between 29 June 2019 and 30 October 2023 and (ii) did the department defend?

Reply:

(a)(i) There were 31 229 persons detained for the purposes of deportation between 29 June 2019 and 30 October 2023.

(a)(ii) 27 823 deportations were confirmed between 29 June 2019 and 30 October 2023.

(b) For the period between 19 June 2019 and 30 October 2023, the following:

(b)(i)(aa) There were no court cases initiated against Home Affairs concerning detention for purposes of deportation.

(b)(i)(bb) No court cases were initiated against the department to prevent confirmation of deportations.

(b)(i)(cc) There were no court cases initiated against the department regarding the confirmation of deportation.

(b)(ii) There were no court cases which required the department to defend.

 

END