ATC140711: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on the Annual Performance Plan and Budget Vote 4 of the Department of Home Affairs, dated 8 July 2014

Home Affairs


The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs (the Committee) having met with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on its Annual Performance Plan (APP) and budget for 2014/15, reports as follows:

1. Introduction

The Committee has a mandate to conduct oversight over the DHA and its entities, namely, Electoral Commission, Film and Publications Board and Government Printing Works. The Committee met with the Department of Home Affairs on 1 July 2014 to receive briefings on the APP and budget. The entities were not invited to the meeting prior the budget being debated. This was due to time constraints resulting from the programme of Parliament. Entities will be invited as soon as possible to fully brief the Committee on their budget and APPs. During the briefing the DHA also covered allocations made to the entities.

2. Briefing by the Department of Home Affairs on the Annual Performance Plan and Budget

The mandates of the DHA are derived from the Constitutions of the Republic of South Africa, legislation and international agreements. The DHA’s services are categorised into two broad categories, namely; Civic Services and Immigration Services. The DHA fulfils its civic mandate by being a custodian, protector and verifier of the identity and status of citizens and permanent residents in South Africa. The immigration mandate of the DHA is to control, regulate and facilitate immigration and the movement of persons through the 72 ports of entry. It also services foreign missions and determines the status of asylum seekers and refugees in accordance with international obligations. Other mandates are the funding and oversight of the Electoral Commission (IEC), Government Printing Works (GPW) and Film and Publications Board (FPB); administration of the Public Holidays Act (1994) and funding of political parties through the Electoral Commission.

2.1. Vision of a transformed Department of Home Affairs

The Department of Home Affairs provides protection of identity and status of all who live in South Africa and South African citizens living abroad. In so doing, it provides security to non-security departments such as the Departments of Education, Health, Trade and Industry, and Social Development. The DHA thus forms part of the security cluster of departments in its protection of state functions, national borders and provision of secure documents for citizens and residents.

A transformed DHA will:

Ø Build a cadre of officials that is patriotic, disciplined, security conscious, professional and human.

Ø Modernise the Information Technology systems through digital technology and integration for security, service delivery and transformation.

Ø Secure identity and immigration and deliver related services that support the achievement of national goals; including security and efficient service delivery to all citizens.

Ø Have the capacity to secure critical systems and related services by managing risks in terms of legislation, staffing, culture and organisation.

Ø Need to be fully integrated into the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS), while continuing to develop relationships with a wide range of state, civil society and international stakeholders.

2.2. Programmes of the Department of Home Affairs

The DHA has three programmes, namely Administration, Citizen Affairs and Immigration Affairs.

Programme 1: Administration

The programme provides leadership, management and support services to the Department of Home Affairs.

Programme 2: Citizen Affairs

The programme provides secure, efficient and accessible services and documents for citizens and lawful residents. The programme also provides the management of the branch for both the head office and frontline offices and regulates all matters relating to the National Population Register (NPR). These include maintaining an accurate register of all citizens and immigrants who had acquired the right to permanent residence; registering births, deaths and marriages; providing travel and citizenship documents; providing financial assistance to citizens abroad who wish to return to South Africa but have no means and determining and granting citizenship. Citizen Affairs also develops, manages and coordinates the departmental footprint in relation to opening new offices; deploying registration services at health facilities; and deploying mobile offices in rural areas where Home Affairs did not have permanent offices.

The programme provides for all civic, immigration and refugee affairs functions within all the provinces and at many missions. The transfers to Government Printing Works, Film and Publications Board and Electoral Commission also fall within this programme.

Programme 3: Immigration Affairs

The programme through the Immigration Branch facilitates and regulates the secure movement of people through ports of entry into and out of South Africa; determines the status of asylum seekers; and regulates refugee affairs.

The Immigration Branch facilitates the entry and departure of persons into South Africa in line with the Immigration Act (2002). It records their movements on the Movement Control System (MCS) and controls the processing of applications for permanent and temporary residence permits, including work, study, business and other visas. Immigration Affairs also deals with the immigration matters in foreign countries and detects and deports illegal immigrants in terms of the Immigration Act. In addition, the branch issues enabling documents to asylum seekers and refugees.

2.3. The National Outcomes of Government

For the 2014 – 2019 period, government had increased the number of national outcomes from twelve to fourteen. The two additional outcomes are 13) social protection and 14) national building and social cohesion.

Of the fourteen outcomes, the DHA was responsible for the following government outcomes:

Outcome 3: All people in South Africa are and feel safe.

Outcome 5: A skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.

Outcome 12: An efficient, effective and development oriented public service.

Outcome 14: Nation building and social cohesion.

In order to contribute to the government outcomes, the DHA had developed its own outcomes, which were:

Outcome 1: Secured South African citizenship and identity.

Outcome 2: Secured and responsive immigration system.

Outcome 3: Services to citizens and other clients that are accessible and efficient.

OUTCOME 1: Secured South African citizenship and identity.

Strategic Objective 1.1. All eligible citizens are issued with enabling documents relating to their identity and status. The DHA planned to increase by 70 the number of offices with live capture functionality for identity documents and passports. It was anticipated 694 000 births would be registered within 30 calendar days. The DHA also planned to issue 1.6 million Identity Smart Cards to citizens over the age of 16 years.

Ninety five percent of the green bar-coded identity documents were to be issued to first time applicants within 54 working days from the date of receipt of application until the ID was scanned at the office of application. Ninety five percent of the ID re-issues were to be issued within 47 working days from the date of application until the ID was scanned at the office of application.

Ninety five percent of passports done manually will be issued within 24 working days from application until the passport was scanned at the office of application. Ninety Seven percent of electronic applications for passports will be issued within 13 working days from the date of application until it was scanned at the office of application.

Strategic Objective 1.2. An integrated and digitised National Identity System that is secure and contains biometric details of every person recorded on the system. The DHA was in the process of developing the National Identity System (NIS) which it planned to have operational by 2016/17. The NIS will integrate population and biometric data of all persons in South Africa.

OUTCOME 2: Secured and responsive immigration system.

Strategic Objective 2.1. Refugees and asylum seekers are managed and documented efficiently. The DHA planned to issue 50% of refugee IDs within 90 days and issue refugee travel documents within 90 days.

Strategic Objective 2.2. Movement of persons in and out of the country regulated according to a risk based approach. The Border Management Agency (BMA) feasibility study and migration policy discussion paper were to be approved by the Minister of Home Affairs in 2014. The DHA will lead the establishment of the BMA. The DHA also planned to improve eight ports of entry with residential and/or office accommodation.

Strategic Objective 2.3. Enabling documents are issued to foreigners efficiently and securely. The DHA will adjudicate 50% of permanent residence applications within eight months from the date of application until the outcome of the application was known. The applications for business, critical skills and general works permits will be adjudicated within eight weeks of applications within South Africa.

OUTCOME 3: Services to citizens and other clients that are accessible and efficient.

Strategic Objective 3.1. Secure, effective, efficient and accessible service delivery to citizens and immigrants. Ninety percent of the newly appointed officials will be inducted by the DHA before commencing service. In addition 300 officials will take part in a skills programme and 100 managers will be enrolled in a leadership programme.

Strategic Objective 3.2. Good governance and administration. The DHA will submit to the Auditor-General accurate financial statements by 31 May annually and annual reports submitted to Parliament by 30 September annually. The vacancy rate of the DHA will be maintained at 10% or below by 31 March 2015.

Strategic Objective 3.3. Ethical conduct and zero tolerance to crime, fraud and corruption. The DHA planned to have 60% of crime, fraud and corruption cases investigated and finalised within 90 days and 80 Threats and Risk Assessments to be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Minimum Information Standards.

Strategic Objective3.4: Collaboration with stakeholders in support of enhanced service delivery and core business objectives. The DHA will collaborate with stakeholders in support of enhanced service delivery.

2.4. The Department’s Contribution to the National Development Plan (NDP)

The NDP aims to eliminate and reduce inequality by 2030. The Director-General reported that the DHA’s mandate was in broad alignment with the NDP. The inclusion of all citizens in democracy and development is enabled by providing them with a status and an identity that gives them access to rights and services.

The Department of Home Affairs was involved in a majo r drive that early registration of birth was done, especially in the rural areas. The efficient provision of identity documents and a security system had helped the poor and reduced corruption.

The DHA was putting in place the policy, legislation, people and systems needed for secure, efficient and strategic management of immigration.

The DHA had embarked on a large scale IT Modernisation Programme which would enable the state to deliver services more efficiently and securely. The same systems will produce reliable statistics for planning purposes, thus assisting in building a capable state as envisaged in the NDP.

The promotion and nation building was promoted by providing the same services to all citizens and residents in over 400 service points.

2.5. The Department’s Contribution to the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2014 - 2019

The DHA commitments to the MTSF being finalised will focus, inter alia, on the following key areas:

Ø South Africa’s border will be effectively defended, protected, secured and well managed. This will be done by the establishment of the (BMA) and a strategy to defend, protect, secure and better manage borders will be developed.

Ø Identity of all persons in South Africa will be known and secured by ensuring that the only entry to the National Identity System (NIS) was the registration of birth. NIS will be designed and operational. The DHA will ensure that systems are in place to capture the biometric data of all travellers who enter and exit South Africa legally.

Ø Improved and streamlined regulations will be finalised to reduce the burden of importing core and critical skills needed by the economy. There will be changes to immigration policy and legislation that supported the importation of economically beneficial skills.

2.6. The Department’s Priorities and Commitments for 2014 - 2015

The Department of Home Affairs had identified the following goals in support of achieving its strategic objectives, government priorities and NDP:

Ø Effective management of immigration to contribute to security and development, including the establishment of a BMA.

Ø Design a comprehensive and secure NIS.

Ø Modernise Home Affairs through investing in people, processes and technology.

Ø Improve service delivery and promote good governance and administration.

Ø Develop officials that are ethical, patriotic and professional.

Ø Visible and firm action in the fight against corruption.

2.7. The Department’s achievements during the period 2013 – 2014

The Department of Home Affairs reported that it achieved its target with regard to the registration of birth within 30 days and issuance of Identity Smart Cards. The DHA was able to register a total of 650 682 births within 30 days. This was against the target of 642 000. This was possible because of the online birth registration at 391 health facilities in the country.

In terms of Identity Smart Cards, the DHA issued 125 112 against the target of 100 000 Identity Smart Cards. Identity Smart Cards are replacing the green Identity Document and will be phased in over a period of 5 – 7 years. This achievement was possible by the roll out of live capture functionality for passports and Identity Smart Cards at 70 offices.

The amendment to Regulations in terms of the Births and Registrations Act came into effect on 20 February 2014 and the new strategy for Late Registration of Births was adopted.

With regard to Immigration Services, a focus was on the strengthening of ports of entry. The DHA completed infrastructure improvements in 11 ports of entry (POE). The Trusted Traveller Programme was implemented at Maseru Bridge. The programme is used by those that travel between South African and Lesotho on a daily basis. Instead of the DHA stamping their passports, they only need to scan their finger on a machine. The DHA also obtained Cabinet approval in the establishment of BMA and initiating a feasibility study.

3. Key Challenges facing the Department of Home Affairs

Challenges that were identified by the Department of Home Affairs during the presentation of their APP were in the following areas:

Ø Asylum seeker and refugee management including the relocation of Refugee Reception Offices to borderlines.

Ø Overhauling the permitting system and border management.

Ø Dependency on the Department of Public Works for office accommodation and State Information Technology Agency (SITA) for communications network.

Ø The continued non-integration of IT systems.

Ø Records management. The Department of Home Affairs has 160 million records that have to be digitised.

Ø Lack of capacity in critical areas such as the inspectorate.

Ø The fight against unlawful activities.

Ø Improvement of administration, especially in financial management.

Ø Ensuring that staff is appropriately trained, professional and caring.

4. Budget of the Department of Home Affairs

The DHA showed an 11% real decrease in its budget allocation (that was after inflation of 6.2%). The total budget of R6.62 billion for the Department included allocations to its related entities; the Electoral Commission (IEC); Government Printing Works (GPW) as well as the Film and Publications Board (FPB). In total the budget was reduced by R371 million from 2013/14 to 2014/15 (as indicated across the DHA’s three programmes in the graphic).

National Treasury data on the quarterly expenditure for the DHA for 2013/14 indicated that total expenditure for the year was 2.7% less than the budget allocated. This was similar to the 2.6% under spending in 2011/12. Although the DHA was under spending a similar percentage as the previous financial year, there was less fluctuation or change in the 2013/14 quarterly expenditure than in 2011/12. The DHA therefore maintained a fairly consistent and low under spending in 2013/14 (of around 3% where 1% was usually considered acceptable by National Treasury).

Table: DHA 2014 Budget Programmes & Sub-programmes in Millions (+/- Percentage change from 2013 after inflation in brackets)

4.1. Programme 1: Administration

The first budget programme of the DHA, Administration, showed a small nominal increase in allocation which actually means a reduction of 5% or R98 million when considering inflation. The aim of the programme is to provide leadership, management and support services to the department.

The most significant change to the programme was a reduction in the corporate services sup-programme. This sub-programme largely manages one of the DHA’s main objectives - a service that is efficient, accessible and corruption free. The reduction in expenditure was concerning given that Corporate Services only managed to fully achieve 4 of its 16 targets (25%) for this important outcome in the most recent 2012/13 Annual Report. The budget did not specify where this real reduction in the Corporate Services budget was going to occur and how service delivery was to be improved.

4.2. Programme 2: Citizen Affairs

The most significant monetary reduction in budget allocation was to the largest budget programme: Citizen Affairs. This programme aims to provide secure, efficient and accessible services and documents for citizens and lawful residents.

The primary reason for the R521 million (12%) real decrease in the programme’s allocation was because of a R330 million (79%) decrease in the Status Services sub-programme. This sub-programme regulates all matters relating to the national population register, including maintaining a register of all citizens and permanent residents; registering births, deaths and marriages; providing travel and citizenship documents and determining and granting citizenship. The reductions were mainly due to expenditure related to the issuing of enabling documents being funded from the self-financing funds (which the DHA generates from charging for re-issuing of documents). This can be seen in the large reduction in Goods and Services expenditure mainly reflected as a decrease in consumables, i.e. stationery, printing and office supplies. This related to a recommendation by the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs’ 2013 Budget Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR).

In contrast, the Access to Services sub-programme received the biggest percentage increase of 38% in real terms (R26 million) across all sub-programmes. This was encouraging since the sub-programme provides for the optimal placement and use of the department’s services by opening new offices, deploying registration facilities at health facilities, scheduling mobile office deployment in remote rural areas, and managing customer telephonic enquiries.

Within the Citizen Affairs programme, transfers to the three agencies falling within Vote 4 comprised 42% of the programme’s budget. Most of this (39%) went to the Electoral Commission (IEC) for National and Provincial Elections this year and Municipal elections in 2016. The IEC received just less (0.08%) than an inflation related increase.

The next entity, the Government Printing Works, was completely self-sufficient on its own state printing revenue from 2013/14 and no longer needed transfers from National Treasury. This will reduce the DHA Citizen Affairs budget by around R100 million each year (-R130 million from 2013 to 2014). Whilst this was encouraging in terms of efficiency it remained to be seen if the GPW will be able to cope with the significant increase in targeted Smart ID cards anticipated this year (1.6 million from only 100 thousand in 2012/13)

The last entity, the Film and Publications Board received a 10% real reduction in expenditure in 2014 which was reflected across all four of its programmes. The FPB regulates the creation, production, possession, exhibition and distribution of films, interactive computer games and certain publications in terms of the Films and Publications Act (1996). The FPB had shown gradual improvement in performance against its targets in the last few years and had ambitions in terms of being more involved in protection of children from inappropriate content.

4.3 Programme 3: Immigration Services

The smallest programme in terms of allocation, Immigration Affairs experienced the largest percentage reduction of 14% (19% after inflation). The aim of this programme is to facilitate and regulate the secure movement of people through the ports of entry into and out of the Republic of South Africa, determine the status of asylum seekers, and regulate refugee affairs. The programme has four sub-programmes.

The most significant reduction was in the Admission Services sub-programme which shows a 41% real reduction in allocation decreasing from to R396 to R247 million in 2014. This sub-programme is responsible for issuing visas, securely facilitating the entry and departure of persons to and from South Africa in line with the Immigration Act (2002) including work, study and business permits. However the reductions affecting both the Immigration and Admission Services sub-programmes were in non-core areas of operations such as venues and facilities, catering, and entertainment and it was stated they will not negatively impact on the delivery of services.

For several years the Immigration Affairs programme had been the worst performing programme and/or section of the DHA in terms of the number of strategic targets achieved. Monitoring of performance for this programme was needed particularly given the two NDP priorities of: a) Facilitating the migration of scarce skills into South Africa to enable rapid growth, as well as b) Promoting regional growth and development. The 2013 BRRR of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs also mentioned that a special intervention was required by the DHA to ensure that the permanent and temporary residence permits and the related backlogs were addressed. This had impacted negatively on the Minister of Home Affairs’ performance target of 50 000 skilled immigrants per annum.

4.4. Human resources

The DHA had been automating the business processes for issuing enabling documents and allowing biometric data, photographs, fingerprints and signatures to be captured live electronically. This systems modernisation programme had allowed the DHA to maintain its funded establishment at 10 369 posts over the medium term (three years), made up mainly of frontline and back office staff in service delivery offices as well as head office staff. Of the funded establishment, 353 (3%) posts were vacant as at 30 November 2013. The DHA did not indicate, however, how many posts they require that remain unfunded by National Treasury.

Posts were vacant due to natural attrition and existing vacant posts that were not filled but it was anticipated that they would be filled over the medium term. The DHA did not employ contract workers and used consultants on an ad hoc basis, particularly with regard to ICT, where the DHA experiences difficulty in attracting suitably qualified and experienced candidates.

As would be expected, the main service delivery programmes spend significantly on compensation of employees. This comprised 48% of the Citizen Affairs programme (of 8333 personnel) and 39% of the Immigration Affairs programme (of 1024 personnel). This was compared to only 22% for the Administration Programme.

The 2013 Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) for the Committee recommended the prioritisation of the filling of all vacant funded posts within 12 months of vacancies or new posts arising. The high vacancy rates in audit services, counter corruption and immigration services had been seen to seriously negatively impact on service delivery. In particular, the filling of key management positions such as the Chief Financial Officer, Provincial Managers and the Chief Internal Audit Executive needed to be finalised as soon as possible.

5. Committee observations

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs observed the following:

a) Information presented by the Department on its Budget and Annual Performance Plan was appreciated and engaged with by Members of the Committee. Members indicated that additional engagement is needed as soon as possible with the Department of Home Affairs, Electoral Commission, Film and Publications Board and Government Printing Works.

b) The Committee noted the improvement in service delivery times of key civic documents and service delivery in many front offices. There was however still a need for improvement of other key documents such as Unabridged Birth Certificates and Permanent Residence Permits and service in some offices. The Committee noted the reduced reliance on consultants by the DHA.

c) The Committee noted immigration initiatives such as the proposed Border Management Agency as a positive step towards improving border security.

d) The Committee noted with concern the significant reduction of budget allocation across all programmes of the Department. Whilst there were limitations across all Departments; the concern was that this will have a negative impact on the already low performance against targets, particularly in Immigration Services.

e) The Committee expressed concern whether the GPW would be able to fulfil key roles such as printing Smart ID cards with no additional budget allocations over and above its own income.

f) The Committee enquired on the relationship of the Department of Home Affairs to the Electoral Commission in terms of oversight on issues of concern. The Committee would engage with the Electoral Commission in this regard.

6. Recommendations

Based on the engagement with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the Committee recommends the following to the Department of Home Affairs:

a) That further details be included in the plans and budget as regard the content, duration and roll out of the training of officials.

b) That there should be specific numerical targets of staff to be appointed in each financial quarter in order to improve on the vacancy rate. The Department to ensure that security vetting is maintained on relevant personnel.

c) Ensure the filling of vacancies particularly in audit services, the inspectorate and senior management such as Provincial Managers and the Chief Financial Officer to mitigate risks.

d) A detailed plan and progress on the infrastructure and offices to be built by the Department of Home Affairs should be presented to Parliament by the end of the 2014/15 financial year.

e) Additional information should be presented to Parliament as soon as possible on actions taken to mitigate complaints resulting from the implementation of the Immigration Regulations.

f) Ensure the Financial Management of the Department is improved in order to achieve a clean audit.

g) A progress report is called for on the implementation of the Border Management Agency by the first quarter of 2015.

h) An improvement is needed on the Department’s initiatives aimed at improving social cohesion.

i) Ensure that committee is briefed as soon as possible on the trends, cost and nature of litigation against the Department.

j) The expansion of DHA presence in rural areas, such as through mobile offices, is encouraged.

k) Provide a report to the committee on the challenges and progress in terms of the DHA’s interaction with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

The Committee recommends that the House approves the 2014/15 Budget of the Department of the Home Affairs.

Report to be considered.


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