Minister of Home Affairs Budget Speech & response by DA
17 May 2017
Minister of Home Affairs, Ms Hlengiwe Mkhize , gave her Budget Vote Speech on the 17 May 2017.
Theme: “Secure and Efficient Service to the People
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee
Honourable Members of the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee
Ladies and gentlemen,
DHA’s Mandate, Values and Principles
It is indeed a singular honour to present to you the budget of the Department of Home Affairs for 2017/18. I would like to thank my predecessor Minister Gigaba as well as Deputy Minister Chohan, the DG Mr. Apleni and the officials for the work done to date to improve departmental systems and processes. As such we have a few centres of excellence with improved infrastructure and enhanced service delivery through the use of technology.
Having said that, it is important to acknowledge that we still have a long walk towards establishing a secure and efficient Home Affairs that is responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people. We draw strength from the knowledge that in this country, no government, before 1994, systematically recorded the births and deaths of all citizens or focused on promoting the wellbeing of all citizens, regardless of race, gender or class.
We approach this task with seriousness and vigilance given the great importance of the Department of Home Affairs in the lives of our people. The core mandate of the department is to secure and confirm our identity and citizenship. Securing the identity and status of every citizen is part of our journey towards socio-economic transformation and the restoration of the dignity of our citizens in line with the Constitution of the Republic.
Consequently, we touch citizens’ lives from the cradle to the grave, starting with the registration of infants within 30 days of birth. After birth certificates, we issue IDs that enable citizens to do various transactions, like opening an account, applying for a business licence or registering for a course. Secured documents, like passports, also ensure our people are treated with respect even when they travel outside the country.
One may ask: ‘What kind of department and officials should the nation trust with managing identity and international migration?’
Ultimately, what people expect is a secure and efficient service transformed by abundance of technologies and innovation.
The values of the DHA are clearly stated in the Annual Performance Plan that is before you today. The department and every official must be:
- People-centred and caring
- Professional and having integrity
- Corruption-free and ethical
- Efficient and innovative
- Disciplined and security conscious
It is fitting that we dedicate this budget vote speech to a radical, visionary and resilient servant of the people of South Africa, Oliver Reginald Tambo: an outstanding internationalist and humanist of great courage and integrity. He showed us that if you live by correct values you can mobilise others and overcome huge difficulties. He freely moved in and out of different countries, small and big cities but was never stopped because of his compliance with the laws and was never doubted or seen as a security risk.
To ensure that his values and principles are appreciated within this department we have launched the Moetapele Leadership programme. This is also to motivate the staff to show leadership and help resolve problems faced every day by citizens and other clients.
Chairperson, allow me to share with you examples where officials have indeed shown leadership and commitment by volunteering to work on days when their offices are normally closed. The chairperson of the DHA Youth Forum, Ms Yolanda Mitchel, and the Harrison Street office manager, Mr Leslie Ramonetha, led a campaign to ensure busy taxi-drivers can apply for smart ID cards. Officials volunteered to open the office on Sundays and taxi associations were contacted. Over two Sundays 105 drivers applied for their new IDs.
Led by Ms Pearl Poto, the office manager, volunteer officials from the Soweto office worked two weekends at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and registered a total of 404 new births. Four volunteer officials led by office manager Ms Ntebatse Matenche of the Kempton Park office processed 68 ID applications for school pupils. The spirit of OR Tambo is indeed alive.
Another good example is from our Client Service Centre that has replaced the Call Centre we used to outsource. Most calls are straightforward, but many have to do with serious problems of identity that are a legacy of the colonial migrant labour system and the destruction of families.
The department has resolved that the highest priority must be put on people and we are indeed investing in the development of our officials. An accredited Learning Academy was established; where staff members receive tailor-made training programmes, including the National Certificate: Home Affairs Services. The training plays a key role in the introduction of new digital systems.
The Academy also runs youth empowerment programmes for cadets and interns that help many to gain the experience they need to find employment. Creative partnerships with institutions of higher learning in the spirit of the National Development Plan (NDP), will go a long way in the enhancement of training programmes we offer.
Last year there were commitments made to this House by my predecessor; and you voted the department a total of R8.1 billion for operations and projects. This included R1.7 billion that was transferred to the Independent Electoral Commission and R134 million to the Represented Political Parties’ Fund.
THERE WERE FIVE STRATEGIC PRIORITIES:
We committed to complete the modernisation programme to fully replace outdated systems that are not secure or efficient. On this priority area, the task was to replace around 38 million green-barcoded ID books with secured smart ID cards over five years and we exceeded the target by a projected 498 000 cards issued. By the end of March 2017, the total number of smart ID cards issued was over 2.6 million making a total of 6.8 million cards issued to date.
Furthermore, the e-HomeAffairs online application platform for smart ID cards and passports was improved to speed up the replacement of the existing green-barcoded IDs by smart ID cards. We hope to strengthen our partnership with the four banks participating in this project.
The enhanced Movement Control System (eMCS) is also being rolled out at busy airports to capture biometrics of travellers and those travelling with children.
Upgrade of Six of the Largest Land Ports of Entry
We committed to upgrade six of the largest land ports of entry: Lebombo, Oshoek, Beitbridge, Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg and Kopfontein. Working with National Treasury a transaction advisor was appointed to develop a Public-Private Partnership solution, and this has been achieved.
Border Management Authority Bill
The department was charged also with establishing a Border Management Authority, to efficiently manage the country’s Ports of Entry and the border line. This was after His Excellency President Jacob Zuma made this commitment in 2009, that we will establish a Border Management Agency.
Cabinet formally resolved to establish the BMA in June 2013 and consequently endorsed a vision for the BMA in 2014.
A major achievement was that the Border Management Authority Bill was completed after extensive engagements within government, NEDLAC and broader society. Cabinet has approved the Bill and it is now going through parliamentary processes.
Improving the Country’s International Migration Policy
We prioritised improving South Africa’s international migration policy to speak to the current environment, supporting economic, social and cultural development. Still recounting last year’s achievements, I am pleased to announce officially that Cabinet has approved the White Paper on International Migration.
PRIORITIES GOING FORWARD
As set out in the NDP Vision 2030, the department directly contributes to economic restructuring, growth and job creation. Appropriately, we have set strategic targets, against an Annual Performance Plan and a realistic budget that this House is to vote on. We trust that targets for 2017/18 will contribute to achieving our strategic objectives that are aligned to national priorities.
Accordingly, for 2017/18 the total vote allocated is R7.1 billion, of which R1.2 billion was transferred to the IEC and R141 million to the Represented Political Parties Fund.
The Business Case for a New Home Affairs
The department’s key strategic areas are those of civic and immigration services. We are living in an era wherein all operations are executed within a digital realm. We are making inroads into the modernisation programme which was launched to develop secure integrated digital systems managed strategically by professionals.
Consequently, our work is highly dependent on information technology, and this critical component is voted R834 million to maintain transversal systems.
Much has been done to improve the DHA as an organisation, modernise its systems, combat corruption and deliver better services. For the 2017/18 financial year we have a total allocation of R519 million earmarked for the modernisation programme.
It was a historic moment for the department when on 1 March 2017 Cabinet announced the approval of a new business case for the department, stating that:
“The Department must be positioned within the security system of the state so that it contributes to national security and is able to protect its people, systems and data. This will enable the department to deliver against its full mandate as a critical enabler of inclusive economic development, national security, effective service delivery and efficient administration.”
A Discussion Paper on the Repositioning of Home Affairs, based on the Business Case, will be published in the Government Gazette on Friday 19 May 2017. Substantive comments can be submitted until 30 September 2017 and we will be engaging with stakeholders. These inputs will inform the drafting of a White Paper on the Repositioning of Home Affairs which will guide the drafting of future DHA legislation.
It is crucial that citizens and organisations express their views on the kind of DHA that can best serve and protect them. Over and above public consultation around the repositioning, I have taken a considered decision to increase my public participation programmes.
Building a new National Identity System
We commit to finalise the design of a National Identity System (NIS) that will replace the National Population Register, which dates back to the 1980s.
The new National Identity System will be a secure integrated system recording identities and status of all persons who visit or reside in South Africa.
All systems of the DHA will be automated and connected to the NIS. In this regard, one of the new targets for 2017/18 is piloting of the full scope of biometrics at a port of entry. This entails improving the movement control system and digitising citizenship and amendment processes.
As part of this process, the department has discontinued the manual processing of passports. Therefore passports can only be acquired through the 179 live capture offices across the country.
Digitisation of Records
Over the years, among the factors impacting on proficient provision of public services to all our people has been a lack of efficient records management. Therefore, we will step-up the phased digitisation of records using the earmarked R10 million per annum received from Treasury. The process commenced in the previous financial year through a partnership with Statistic South Africa.
South Africa has the capacity to modernise. For example, using technology as an enabler, we transformed our office in Marabastad which was notorious for being overcrowded into the world class Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre, launched by President J.G Zuma early this year. It is fitting that we named the centre after an icon of human rights. The centre is now conducive for DHA officials to improve services as a result of cutting-edge technologies installed. Overcrowding has drastically decreased and efficiency improved.
Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Work on civic services is voted R2.4 billion. The registration of 750 000 births within 30 days, as legally required, is a key target. This represents about 74% of estimated births and anything less than 100% carries risks and compromises the population register. Currently, we have more than 300 health institutions with network hospital connectivity with an additional 80 lines to be upgraded this year. In addition, this year we will connect 26 offices with live capture functionality for Births, Marriages and Deaths (BMD).
National Study on Challenges in Early Birth Registration
Compliance remains a challenge and with the assistance of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation a national study is being conducted to look at causes and propose solutions for late registration of birth. Key partners include the Department of Health.
Intensifying smart ID card roll-out
The target for issuing smart ID cards has been increased from the 2.2 million of 2016/17 to 3 million in 2017/18, based on the number of counters in the 279 offices that to date have been fitted with the new digital system. The number of offices will be increased by a further 14 offices with paperless, automated issuance of smart ID cards and passports.
Expanding our Mobile Footprint
As we rollout the live capture system in existing offices, we will continue to explore ways of expanding our office footprint to reach out to communities in the rural and remote areas. As an interim measure, the department has deployed 115 mobile units countrywide. We have also started a tender process for a mobile solution which will capacitate mobile units to receive applications for smart ID cards and passports.
Immigration Services: Permitting
R1.2 billion is set aside for immigration services. The turnaround standard set last year of 85% of permits delivered within eight months will be maintained.
The target for adjudicating temporary residence visas increased to 90% within eight weeks for business and general work visas. We are committing to improving the target for critical skills visas by 5%, to 80% adjudicated within four weeks.
Continued Work on Land Ports
The project to upgrade our six largest land ports of entry will continue with the department engaging National Treasury on securing service providers. This massive infrastructure development project will contribute to radical economic transformation whilst improving trade within the SADC region.
Border Management Authority
While completing the legislative process, the Border Management Authority project office will continue with the development of a detailed roadmap and blueprint.
An integrated border management strategy has been developed and will be implemented in phases. The introduction of the Border Management Authority (BMA) Bill, 2016 represents a radical shift from the colonial and apartheid systems that were based on the inhuman exploitation of subjugated peoples.
International Migration Policy
The transformation of South Africa’s international migration policy is among the major priorities of the department. Therefore, we are focusing on implementing the White Paper approved by Cabinet in March 2017. This is an important milestone for South Africa. The recent amendments to immigration legislation require investors who establish businesses in South Africa to make sure that 60% or more of their employees are South African and that skills are transferred to citizens.
In the shorter term, however, urgent amendments to the immigration and refugees acts are needed to address immediate challenges. This policy development process should result into a comprehensive overhaul of immigration and refugees legislation.
For the first time our country will have an immigration policy that is focused on development and on Africa; and that enables risks to be managed proactively. Much work was also done to ease travel for investors and businesses to promote economic development in our country and the region.
For instance, in 2015, the department announced a 10-year multiple entry visa for our BRICS partners, and in 2016, a 10-year multiple entry visa was granted for business and academics from the African continent.
It is in this way that we may pursue the goals of the African Union Agenda 2063 regarding the envisaged promotion of free trade, movement of people, goods and services in the continent. Similarly, all AU Member States are working on immigration regimes which will not compromise the security of other states.
Uprooting Systematic Corruption
We are intensifying our all-out fight against corruption in all its manifestations. IDs, passports and birth certificates have high value and the DHA is under constant attack by local and international criminal syndicates. Cybercrime is also on the rise.
We will strengthen the work of our Counter Corruption unit, of uprooting fraud, bribery and corruption inside and outside the system. This work we will do through “Bvisa Masina” – cleaning the rot – programme, which was launched in 2015.
Since its launch, there has been 166 arrests for fraud and other crimes: with 85 officials arrested and 81 members of the public, either working alone or for syndicates. This work we will fast-track and develop in line with the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.
Before concluding, I must speak to the important work done by the entities that receive funds via the DHA. I would like to reiterate the Department and Government’s view that the IEC’s independence remains of paramount importance, in order for it to continue to entrench the hard-fought democracy our country enjoys today.
Government Printing Works
The Government Printing Works is a success story for the country. This is a highly efficient self-funded organisation that produces, amongst others, your new secure passports and smart ID cards. The GPW is positioning itself as a high-security printer of official documents in any medium and contributes to security and credibility of government. In this regard they require two bills that will be tabled in this house. The GPW State Owned Company Bill will be tabled this year and the Security Printers Bill will be tabled in the 2018/19 financial year.
Together, we move South Africa forward
This I must emphasise: to make a breakthrough on our strategic objectives, we need strong partnerships across a range of stakeholders, embracing community representatives, non-governmental organisations, faith based organisations, traditional leadership, business, UN-based organisations and broader society.
Particular focus is also required on the most vulnerable, particularly women and children. It is important to combat gender violence and abuse including human trafficking, abductions and marriages of convenience.
I wish to express my thanks for the many valuable inputs that were made in response to the Green paper on International Migration during its development stage; and to SADC Ministers who participated at the International Migration conference in March.
We greatly appreciate the support we enjoyed from the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs under the leadership of Hon. Mashile and the Select Committee on Social Services led by Hon. Dlamini.
In conclusion, I am confident that this House understands that the Department of Home Affairs is a strategic resource for enabling the empowerment of citizens, the inclusive socio-economic development of our economy and efficient and accountable government. It is these noble commitments that spurred us this year to adopt as the theme for the budget debate – “Secure and Efficient Service to the People!”
I thank you!
Dysfunctional Home Affairs compromises jobs
Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Hannif Hoosen MP, during the Budget Vote on Home Affairs.
I would like to start by congratulating the Honourable Minister on her recent appointment.
I am encouraged by the attitude from the new Minister, especially her regular attendance at the portfolio committee meetings, which is certainly a positive change compared to her predecessor.
This department must be given credit for some of the good work that has been done. The rollout of 6 million smart ID cards in four years and the quick turnaround times with passport applications are impressive achievements.
Most people have forgotten that it used to take several weeks to get a passport. It is now possible that you could receive one in a week.
While there is little doubt that we are making progress, there is still much more to achieve.
We must not forget that today more than 9 million South Africans are without a decent job and have little hope for the future.
This department has a critical role to play in turning that around.
With the ease of travel, billions of people are looking for new opportunities to work, live and play. Countries all over the world are working hard to be at the forefront of this opportunity and make it more attractive, for those with skills and capital to enter their shores.
If we want to grow our economy and reduce unemployment, we too must exploit these opportunities, through our immigration system.
But Honourable Chairperson, our immigration system is broken.
There are many people who enter our country legally every year and play by the rules, but there are also many who have no respect for our rules.
Most businesses respect our laws and pay their workers a proper wage, but they also forced to watch others exploit these rules as they pay undocumented immigrants low wages.
For far too long we have heard of stories about people who simply walk across our borders.
Nobody in Home Affairs can tell you how many million undocumented immigrants are living in our country.
We need an immigration system that is fair, effective and one that contributes to growing our economy and creating jobs.
We need a system where everyone contributes and one that treats people with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
I want to present the DA’s plan to turn this around and appeal to the Minister to give careful consideration to these proposals.
The first thing we must do, is fix our borders. We must fix our fence.
If we don’t, we will never solve the problem of the high number of undocumented immigrants in the country.
Businesses who break the rules and employ undocumented immigrants must be dealt with harshly. They destroy our economy.
Tracking down and deporting an unknown number of undocumented immigrants will cost us far too much. It costs millions each year for deportation and this is no longer sustainable.
This is why, we are calling on the Minister to find innovative ways to regularise undocumented immigrants. Let us allow them to come forward and regularise themselves and play by the rules. This will save us millions that can re-directed towards more sustainable programmes.
While most countries are rolling out the red carpet, we are rolling out the red tape.
We have to make it easier for those who are willing to play by the rules to enter, live, work and play in our beautiful country.
We have to make it more difficult for those who cross our borders illegally and don’t play by the rules.
And we must fix our fence.
Through our immigration programme, we CAN make a meaningful contribution towards the NDPs aim of finding work for the 9 million unemployed South Africans,
We can achieve this objective by creating a user friendly and attractive visa regime.
If we make it easier for people to invest in SA, we will contribute to that objective.
But sadly, Immigration Affairs is still the worst funded programme in Home Affairs and as a result, we are not taking job creation seriously.
We all know, that our country is experiencing a period of slow growth and declining foreign investments.
If we want to address the crisis of 9 million unemployed South Africans, then home affairs must simplify our visa regime to attract foreign investment, so that it is easier for companies to set up shop here, which will lead to job creation.
But we are doing the opposite.
In 2014, the former Home Affairs Minister and the current Finance Minister introduced disastrous new immigration regulations and increased the minimum amount for a business visa to R5 million.
The DA warned him then that this decision would have a devastating effect and would create an additional barrier to foreign investors to enter the South African Market.
But he did not take this seriously and continued to argue for a higher entry-level investment.
Honourable Chairperson, the evidence is now before us that we were correct.
In the whole of 2016, not a single business visa was approved by Home Affairs for new start-up businesses. By comparison, a country like Mauritius has attracted scores of new foreign owned businesses.
It is clear from this that the Department is not succeeding in making South Africa an attractive destination for investment.
We need a different approach if we want to achieve different outcomes.
We therefore call on the new Minister today, to introduce a sliding scale where both large and small investors can be attracted to our shores.
We must make provisions for a small business visa.
We know that there are thousands of foreigners operating small businesses illegally in South Africa, because our visa regime makes it impossible for them to operate legally.
If we create an environment for small business to thrive, it will have a direct impact on job creation and regularise the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already in the country.
There is an opportunity here that we are not exploring.
But not all undocumented foreigners are entrepreneurs.
Many of them work illegally in the country without proper permits, because of our inability to protect our borders.
You no longer need to jump a fence, there is no fence.
We must fix that fence.
For too long we invested poorly in the number of Immigration Officers, whose job it is to seek out and deport illegal immigrants.
We have fewer than 800 immigration officers in the entire country but a city like London has almost 3600.
The DA has repeatedly called for a greater investment in this department for several years now.
More immigration officers will result in fewer undocumented immigrants and this would increase demand for unskilled labour in South Africa.
I invite the new Minister to offer a commitment to address these weaknesses.
Honourable Chairperson, a few days ago, the ANC attempted to use its declining majority to force through the Border Management Authority Bill (BMA) in the house.
To their huge embarrassment, it failed to achieve the required numbers.
We can hardly afford to fill the vacancies in Home affairs and yet we are experimenting with faulty ideas that make absolutely no sense.
The introduction of the BMA will double the number of staff in Home Affairs yet Treasury has put a moratorium on new appointments. Because we simply cannot afford it.
What is required is a more effective use of our current resources, a reduction in unnecessary spending in the department, and an increased investment in Immigration Affairs.
The estimated cost of the BMA is almost R22bn, something that we cannot afford at this time in our country. Let’s rather focus on fixing our fence.
Recently, a culture of mediocrity is creeping in at front line offices across the country. More South African’s are becoming increasingly frustrated with the unprofessional service from some staff and security guards.
While the majority are hard working professionals, a hand full of staff continue to give this department a bad reputation.
The people of South Africa are our customers and we need to start treating them with the respect that they deserve.
As I conclude, I recognise that we have made some good progress, but there have been some poor decisions and poor spending patterns.
But this won’t be for too long. More and more South Africans are becoming increasingly annoyed with the state of governance, mediocrity and corruption in our country.
It is only a matter of time till South Africa ushers in a new government. This one is already on its way out. South Africans and the world are already preparing for life after the ANC.
And when that happens we will make sure that everything we do will be in the best interest of our shared futures and the people of our country.
If Home Affairs fails, our country fails
Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Archibold Figlan MP, during the Budget Vote on Home Affairs.
This department is one of the most important in our government. It touches the hearts and minds of every single South African and is often used as an indication of just how well our government works. If Home Affairs fails, our country fails.
For this reason, everything we do in this department must bring change to the lives of our people and make a positive contribution to the development of all South Africans and the country as a whole.
The smart ID rollout programme, as my colleague has already mentioned, has made some sterling progress, but the rate of delivery is still too slow. At the current rollout rate, it is likely to take more than ten years to ensure that we convert from the old ID book to the new smart ID card. We must, therefore, implement new measures to achieve this target sooner than planned. We welcome the introduction of banks in assisting with this rollout but there are still too few banks that can entertain applications.
The long queues at Home Affairs offices are also a massive problem for people who are unable to spend an entire day away from work, just to apply for an ID document.
Many offices around the country stop accepting people from 15:30. We appeal to the Minister to take careful note of the declining quality standards at many offices countrywide. In particular, the Edenvale Office in Johannesburg, the Bellville office in Cape Town, and the Umgeni Road office in Durban are the main culprits.
Honourable speaker, for many years now, we have raised the concern around the registration of new-born children. Thousands of children who live in our country are still not properly registered and years later when they attempt to register, it becomes very difficult to prove that they are South African citizens.
Many parents do not take this responsibility seriously. Only 75% of the children born in our country are registered within 30 days. This is a scary statistic. We must do more to ensure that every single child that is born in this country, is properly registered. It does not help that registration facilities at hospitals are inoperable and under staffed. This exacerbates the problem and must receive urgent attention from the Minister.
Honourable Chairperson, another area of concern is the massive backlog that we have in the permanent resident application process.
Recently, the Director-General announced that about 4 600 applications are no longer on the system. What has happened to those applications? Why have they simply disappeared and what steps are being taken to inform every applicant to re-apply?
Many applicants have already been waiting for many years for the adjudication process to be completed, and now we hear that their applications have somehow been deleted. I invite the Honourable Minister to inform this house of the details in this regard, in her final reply.
Honourable Chairperson, in conclusion, I wish to extend our appreciation to all the staff and senior management officials in the department for their contribution.
We must recognise that hundreds of home affairs officials work tirelessly to keep this department operational but that so much more could be done to support and improve the delivery of services to the people of our country.
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