Minister of Home Affairs Budget Speech, response by DA
24 May 2022
Debate on the Home Affairs Budget Vote-5: Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Home Affairs
My colleague, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Njabulo Nzuza
Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Honourable Mosa Chabane
Honourable members of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs
Honourable members of the National Assembly
Vice Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Ms Jeanet Love and CEO Mr Sy Mamabolo
Director General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mr Tommy Makhode
CEO of the Government Printing Works (GPW), Ms Alinah Fosi
Commissioner of the Border Management Authority, Dr Mike Masiapato
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen
On this day of our budget vote, we as the Department of Home Affairs are acutely aware that we are sitting in this House in the presence of two elephants in the room. Yes, there are two main things that occupy our minds, your minds as Member of this House and the minds of the South African public at large.
These are the long winding queues outside Home Affairs front offices, and the issue of immigration in our land.
At this moment in time, you are expecting no less from this budget vote than to hear what are the Department’s best laid plans to deal with these two issues.
There are of course other important issues that affect members of the public that the Department deals with on a daily basis. But the two main arms of the Department, viz, Civic Services and immigration have an ever looming presence in our midst.
Let me start with the issue of long queues in our front offices
It is common cause that we cannot pinpoint only one particular reason that is causing this unsavoury state of affairs.
There are numerous and various reasons that are responsible. However, the main one that sticks out like a sore thumb among the rest is the issue of system downtime. In my previous budget speech, I referred to it as the original sin.
It is painful and generates a lot of anger to visit a Home Affairs office very early in the morning and just stand there and wait for hours on end because all systems are down. It is very frustrating to say the least. Many members of the public simply believe DHA computers don’t work, and they keep asking us, why don’t you just fix your computers or even buy new once? We can’t blame them. They don’t know that the problem of systems that are continuously down go beyond just fixing a computer.
Last year both SITA (State Information Technology Agency) and the Department of Home Affairs appeared in front of the Portfolio Committee and outlined plans to deal with this perennial problem.
As if systems downtime is not enough of a headache by itself, we then had Covid 19 and had to go for many months without certain services of Home Affairs being provided because we simply couldn’t. Now everybody in gravitating on the front offices to claim these services they had missed for a period of no less than 18 to 24 months. This worsens the situation. Be that as it may, let me remind the house what we and SITA jointly promised to do together.
- Revamping the old network
I am happy to announce that SITA has informed us that they are spending R400 million revamping its entire network, having just completed a procurement process in that regard. This revamp will be concluded in the third quarter of this financial year.
- Implement Software Define Network (SDN)
This work has been concluded by SITA and will assist in increasing our bandwith due to the number of applications we use at Civics. This will increase our connectivity.
- Internet Capacity
Honourable Chair, I know of no other Government Department that consume as much internet services as Home Affairs does. Virtually internet services are a sine qua non of the existence of our Civic Services.
SITA has now doubled its internet capacity and introduced three failovers located in three cities, namely: Tshwane, Cape Town and Ethekwini.
This will ensure that if any of the network is down, there will be two to support our services. Members of the Portfolio Committee have always asked about the issue of redundancy – meaning backup connection or network. Hence this failovers in three cities will assist in this redundancy.
- Develop a plan for cyber-security
SITA has finalised its procurement plan to address cyber-security for our IT infrastructure. This will be implemented during this financial year once law enforcement agencies have given approval. All in total SITA has committed to spend almost R1 billion on IT infrastructure to support the Department of Home Affairs and others. But we know that the Department of Home Affairs will be one of the major beneficiaries.
- Roll-out new switches and routers
The Department has installed new 136 routers and 150 switches in 136 offices.
We still need to install 112 routers and 68 switches which have already been bought.
- Bringing in Engineers from the Banks
Honourable chairperson, we wish to confess that whenever our systems are down, we stand in awe of the banks which always seems to be having a stable IT network. We asked ourselves how do they achieve that?
I am happy to announce that after engagement on this issue we are bringing onboard eight (8) IT engineers from a leading bank to assist to stabilise our network as well as installation of some key IT infrastructure. All the eight IT specialists have been through the vetting process and have completed it. They will soon join us.
We believe that the partnerships with the banks will rapidly reduce the skills deficit and assist the Department to improve and maintain system uptime.
Members of the Portfolio Committee will remember that we mentioned on numerous occasions that banks are prepared to offer some of the Home Affairs services at some of their branches.
However, this did not work as fast as we envisaged because the banks are worried of reputational damage that our system downtime would cause them.
Remember that for them to offer Home Affairs services, they need to verify the details of the client by using our system. If there is downtime the banks also get stuck.
We believe that as soon as their own engineers have helped us to increase system uptime, the banks will cheerfully open their doors for Home Affairs services.
- South Africa Connect(SA Connect)
We are eagerly waiting for the S A connect announced by the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies. While this is a Government-wide initiative, Home Affairs will be a major beneficiary. Home Affairs need as much broadband as can be made available.
- Installing Generators
Apart from downtime due to SITA networks and Home Affairs load shedding has added another burden on the shoulders of Home Affairs. Our offices are not spared during load shedding.
We have installed generators in all our 197 modernised offices but our remaining 215 non modernised offices will be out of operation for the duration of load shedding in a particular area, further increasing the queues.
Then there is the National scourge which Home Affairs is particularly vulnerable to – cable theft. On the 26 April 2022, the headline in the Daily Dispatch, a newspaper publication in the Eastern Cape read “Cable theft shuts Home Affairs”.
While technicians from SITA were able to resolve this, it took two days to install new cables, leaving the entire Province unable to access some services. Again and needless to say, members of the public simply believe Home Affairs is dismally failing to repair their computers. They express their anger through the abusive phone calls and emails we receive.
We do try and deploy mobile trucks to some of these areas affected by cable theft but the level of anger is always high. NATJOINTS is trying to attend to this but we wish to remind members of the public that when you see somebody stealing a cable please just realise that he is making it impossible for you to get your documents from Home Affairs on time. Our Department is more vulnerable to cable theft that any Government Department.
- New infrastructure
Honourable Chairperson, we have already alluded to the fact that unlike clinics, schools and police stations, our offices are not purpose built. They are hired through the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure from somebody else who built them for a different purpose.
Hence our people stand in ugly and unyielding long queues even in the rain or the scorching sun. They even struggle to find parking for their cars.
We have tried to provide ourselves with custom-built offices suitable for our purposes. Such a new modern custom-built office is now operational in Lusikisiki and this financial year, we will finalise construction and open two such offices in Limpopo located in Mokopane and Thohoyandou as well as a third one in Taung in North West. Construction has just started in the Stanger in KZN.
We have also registered 15 offices with Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Council to be built through a PPP for our high volume offices. These are Byron place in Pretoria, the not-so-well-spoken-about Harrison street office in Johannesburg.
In the Eastern Cape, we have selected office in Buffalo City, Gqeberrha and the troublesome office in Mthatha.
In KZN we have selected offices in Pinetown and Mngungundlovu.
In Limpopo it will be the unyieldy Polokwane office. In Mpumalanga it will be offices in Emalahleni and Mbombela.
As you can see Honourable Chair, this 15 high volume infrastructure project were well thought of and the offices identified were well chosen for the problems they perennially present to the public. However, we need to concede that it will take some time until they provide relief because construction is still to start.
Hence as an immediate relief measure, we have been engaging several malls in the country. Operating Home Affairs offices at malls will obviate the problem of queueing in the sun or rain. Malls will also provide convenient and safe parking for clients. We shall start with Menlyn mall in Pretoria, Cresta mall and Southgate mall in Johannesburg, the Pavillion in Ethekwini and Tygervalley mall in Cape Town.
It is hoped that the Cresta mall operation will help relieve the Much-Maligned Randburg offices and operations in the Pavillion mall will relieve the pressure on our Umgeni offices which are often not well spoken about.
Honourable Chair, since the malls still have to move some tenants around to make way for Home Affairs, we will install our equipment there around September this year. We shall start with the Menlyn mall in Pretoria and then roll-out to the rest.
- Branch Appointment Booking System (BABS)
Honourable Chair, another immediate relief measure is a new online booking system called BABS (Branch Appointment Booking System). This system is presently being piloted in 24 of our busiest offices.
The results of this 24 pilots are encouraging and we will be rolling out this system to more offices and also run a campaign to increase awareness. The pilot started in December last year at the Centurion and Akasia offices in a hybrid model allowing booked and walk-in clients. A total of 33 463 people have used the system between December 2021 and 13 May 2022.
Apart from making sure that there are no queues in the Home Affairs offices where it is implemented, the BABS system will help eradicate corruption by making sure that those who practice the obnoxious behaviour of selling queue spaces have no clients because clients book straight online and come at the appropriate time, and hence they have no need to buy space from anybody in the queue. The Deputy Minister will elaborate more on this important intervention.
- Staffing of the Department
The last major project on dealing with queues is the capacitation of the Department with staffing.
We have complained on numerous occasions that our front offices are only 39% staffed and of course this contribute in no small measure to long queues. This happened for the past 5 years when Treasury slapped a ceiling on the budget for COE (Compensation for Employees). Hence when people left the Department by natural attrition, they were not replaced. Furthermore population growth was not catered for. Added to this, is a painful loss of more than 40 front office staff due to Covid-19. We also suffered severe budget cuts in the last two years because money has to be moved to health facilities to help fight Covid-19.
This financial year National Treasury came to the party with a relief measure even though we still have a long way to go. We have been awarded R266 million which will help push our staffing level to at least 42% by hiring an additional 764 employees. 517 of this employees will be front office staff and 288 will be new immigration officers.
- Deploying mobile offices
As a further relief measure, we have bought 10 extra mobile trucks for R15 million and will add another 15 for R20 million this financial year. Our trucks were very helpful during the recent floods in KZN, and hence we value them a lot.
We will continue adding more trucks each financial year until we have increased our total tally by 100% i.e from the present 100 trucks to 200 trucks.
We would like to see a situation that no learner is allowed near any Home Affairs office during school hours but wait for the mobile trucks to visit their school. This school programme is run by the Deputy Minister and he will elaborate on it.
- Digitization of our paper records
Lastly Chair, you have heard about programme of digitization of our 300 million paper records which starts from as far back as 1895. Once done digitization will relieve the long queues because it makes it unnecessary for people who need services such as rectification and name changes not to come to Home Affairs and queue many times as they are doing now. The reason that people asking for rectification and name changes come to Home Affairs many times is because after outlining to officials what changes they want the official will then have to go to archives to search manually among the 300 million paper records to ascertain what the original name was. The client is then instructed to come back on a particular date and unfortunately this might be repeated more than once.
Honourable Chairperson, as I said earlier, another elephant in the room is the problem of immigration. I don’t have to outline what is taking place in our country about this problem. It is a crisis we are all well aware of. However, if I were to start to outline it here, It will need its own budget speech.
For today, it will suffice to say we have decided on a complete overhaul of the immigration system of the country. Complete overhaul means exactly that. Work in this regard is well underway and we will soon unveil it.
Chairperson, we have long conceded to the problem of porous borders in our country. You are aware that the implementation of the newly established Border Management Authority is well underway. The Commissioner and his two Deputies are hard at work to establish the structure. Recruitment of first cohort of Border guards has been completed and they will be brought in next week for onboarding, which includes an orientation programme and deployment to the selected areas of the borderline which are known to be problematic. Their uniform with their own logo has been purchased together with other tools of the trade. It is hoped that this cohort will be officially launched in the first days of the next quarter.
Presently the BMA is incubated as a branch in the Department of Home Affairs. I wish to state that however it is on course to be declared a stand alone schedule 3A Public Entity responsible for our borders, starting from the 1st April next year.
Chairperson, only 11 months ago, I came to the Portfolio Committee to introduce a Counter Corruption Unit of only 13 people headed by a DDG. You have seen how in that short period the unit has outdone itself.
The number of arrest of Kingpins and Syndicates speaks for itself. 60% of the cases Counter Corruption is dealing with have to do with immigration issues, especially matters of permitting, which is a further testimony on why we need to completely overhaul the immigration system of the country.
Let me inform you that in the coming weeks we will continue to arrest more and more people, both foreign nationals and South Africans involved in passports fraud and other forms of identity theft as well as corruption.
Since the arrest of the Pakistani Kingpin of passports fraud on 24 March this year, the Counter Corruption unit cannot find time to rest.
South Africans from all walks of life, including members of Parliament are reporting to them acts of fraud and corruption on a daily basis. This is heartwarming and indicates that our people are tired of corruption. We shall root it out without fear, favour or prejudice and we promise never to be intimidated or derailed by anybody.
The unit is not just reactive, it studies our systems and identify loop-holes that encourage fraud and other acts of malfeasance and propose appropriate solutions.
Hence Chair, we are adding 12 new staff members to the Counter Corruption unit. They will include analysts, researchers and investigators.
GOVERNMENT PRINTING WORKS(GPW)
Honourable Chairperson, when the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs visited GPW on two occasions for oversight, we reported to them that we wish to extend the footprint of the GPW by printing high security documents to our neighbours and other countries on the continent.
I am happy to announce that a lot of progress has been made.
- GPW has delivered 60 000 copies of Namibian birth certificates. It will also print Namibian marriage certificates, death certificates and Namibian Permanent Residence permits.
- GPW has also printed 75 good shepherd college certificates, 1 435 University certificates and 29 Royal Eswatini Police Service certificates for Eswatini.
- In terms of the pipeline, GPW has agreed with Kenya to print for them ID’s, travel documents examination, materials and high security certificates. Over the course of last year, GPW held discussions with institutions in Lesotho, Ethiopia and the DRC so that we serve them in a similar manner.
In 2022/23 the focus is on engagements with Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia. The GPW remains one of few Government Entities that is self financing and always making a profit, even during the harsh economic conditions imposed by Covid-19.
IEC (INDEPENDANT ELECTORAL COMMISSION
The IEC has concluded a review of the 2021 Local Government Elections. The findings and experiences will be used in preparation for 2024 National and Provincial Elections.
Presently Parliament is hard at work to finalise the Bill for Independent candidates to participate in National and Provincial Elections for the first time in the history of the country.
The IEC is eagerly waiting for any consequential amendment that may be needed as a result of the passing of the Bill. As the IEC makes this preparations we are proud that it achieved a clean audit in the financial year 2020/2021and we believe it will continue to do so in the coming financial years.
Parliament is again ceased with the work of appointing a new Commissioner for IEC and subsequently recommend to the President the appointment of the Chairperson of IEC as the term of the last incumbent has lapsed. We hope this is done speedily so that the IEC can continue its preparation with a full complement of Commissioners.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank my colleague, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Honourable Njabulo Nzuza, the DG of Home Affairs, Mr Tommy Makhode, the CEO of Government Printing Works, Mrs Alina Fosi, the Commissioner of Border Management Authority, Dr Mike Masiapato and the former chair of the IEC Mr Mashinini and its CEO Mr Mamabolo for very good working relations.
I also wish to thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Home Affairs, Mr Mosa Chabane and Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee for very warm and extremely productive working relations. This can only spell progress.
I am tabling for the consideration of this Honourable House an amount of R9,4 billion for budget vote number 5 - Department of Home Affairs.
Speech by Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Njabulo Nzuza, (MP), on the occasion of the 2022/23 Department of Home Affairs Budget Vote
Published: 24 May 2022
24 MAY 2022
Minister of Home Affairs Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi
Members of the Executive
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Hon Mosa Chabane
Members of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs
Acting Chairperson of the IEC, Ms Janet Love
Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs Mr. L.T Makhode and your entire Management Team.
CEO of Government Printing Works,
Commissioner of the BMA,
Fellow South Africans,
It is always an honour and with a sense of great pride and duty to address this occasion which deliberates on the allocation of resources by the Department of Home Affairs to its key programs. The deliberations on the allocation of resources in a form of a budget vote, contributes extensively in ensuring that the limited resources make a great impact towards improving the lives of the people.
These resources will give a new born child their first form of identity and belonging to our great nation. These resources will continue to protect the identity of millions of South Africans. These resources chairperson will open gates to the world to millions of South Africans who continue to travel the world. These resources will give access to identity documents to our young people allowing them to grow and fulfil their dreams. These resources are important for all of us to live our lives because without these documents we become invisible.
The Department of Home Affairs carries the responsibility to ensure that no South African under any circumstances suffers the scandal of invisibility. This we do by managing Citizenship and Civil Registration. Chairperson, our commitment, resolve and ability to respond even in times of crisis was put to the test during the floods that ravaged KZN, Eastern Cape and other parts of our country.
Thousands of citizens were affected by the floods and more than a thousand lost their enabling documents. We had the responsibility to respond to this crisis in order to normalise the lives of those affected by having to speedily issue enabling documents to the victims allowing them to rebuild their lives.
In order for us to respond to the crisis, we deployed 9 mobile units which have serviced 41 sites. We serviced 2 224 citizens for Smart ID Card applications and issued 349 birth certificates on the spot. The re-issue of both Smart ID Cards and birth certificates were at no cost to citizens understanding that this was and still remains a disaster situation. It is blatantly untrue that we have not serviced those affected by the floods in KZN, in-fact we have done so and we will continue to do so.
The disaster situation also displayed the capabilities of our mobile units to service people in areas in which they live taking both application and issuing of enabling documents. Our mobile unit fleet has proved to be effective in reaching out to far flung areas and in order to provide services to people who are unable to visit our offices.
We are currently operating a fleet of 100 mobile units which also provide support to high volume offices and offices under distress. In the past financial year the budget allowed us to conduct visits to 2 056 sites. This fleet has been able to service 131 164 clients and school learners with smart ID card applications in the 2021/2022 financial year. This resulted into citizens saving thousands to rands in travel costs that would have been incurred had they gone to our offices.
The 2021/2022 budget allowed us to procure additional 10 mobile units which are ready for deployment. We will be procuring a further 15 mobile units in the 2022/2023 financial year. Through the mobile units we are better placed to reach out to areas where there is little or no Home Affairs footprint, especially in rural and remote areas. The mobile units are also the backbone of our school Smart ID Campaign which has benefited both urban and rural schools.
Using mobile units we have been able to target learners ensuring that South African learners doing grade 12 sit for their examinations already in possession of a Smart ID Card. We have now also placed focus to grade 11 which saw the number of learners starting their grade 12 without identity documents reduced from 8 187 in 2020 to 2 560 in 2021 academic year.
In the period we visited 1011 schools working in partnership with the Department of Basic Education. The additional mobile units purchased and the ones to be purchased in the new financial year will extend our reach and greatly enhance our school ID campaigns.
This budget chair will allow us to further our efforts in issuing Smart ID cards to our citizens. I am pleased to announce that by the end of the 2021/2022 financial year, more than 19 million South African citizens had been issued with smart ID cards. The replacement of the old green barcoded ID books with the new smart ID cards initiated in 2013, remains on track, with milestones set for each year.
Chairperson the 2021/2022 budget allowed us to issue a total of 2 369 172 smart ID cards surpassing the targeted 1,6 Million. This was despite the limitations imposed on operations by the Covid-19 pandemic and its management and preventative measures.
Of the smart ID cards issued, 966 068 were for first-time applicants comprising mainly of the youth. It is a significant improvement compared to the 622 539 issued to first time applicants in the previous financial year. It is indicative of the impact we are making in the lives of young people of our country. This we can never do chairperson without the resources and the budget that we are deliberating upon today.
The budget allocation for the financial year 2022/2023 has allowed us to increase the planed issue of Smart ID cards with 37.5% which is 600 000 more than the previous financial year which means that in the 22/23 financial year we will issue 2.2 Million Smart ID Cards to citizens attaining the age of 16 years and above.
We continue to make steady progress towards universal birth registration. We strive to build a credible, accurate and secure National Population Register (NPR) with a single point of entry, within the first 30 calendar days of birth. In 2021/22, we had set a target of registering 700 000 births within 30 days.
We however surpassed this target by registering a total of 1 018 718 births, of which 800 057 accounting for 78.5% were registered within 30 calendar days. This percentage is up from 73.7% of the previous financial year. We intend to normalize early birth registration at above 90% by the year 2024.
Part of the strategy in this regard is expanding our office footprint in health facilities, in order to bring Home Affairs services closer to the people.
In this way parents can register their children before leaving the hospital or health facilities – a service which is more convenient than planning a visit to Home Affairs at a later stage. This service is rendered in partnership with the Department of Health.
The number of registration sites where births were registered during the review period was 803, consisting of 412 Home Affairs front offices and across all 391 health facilities.
Currently, there are 391 Home Affairs Civic Registration Offices in health facilities. Our country has 1 445 health facilities with maternity wards and our plan is to ensure that the Civic Registration capabilities exist in all of them. The health facilities connection are funded through the revenue we generate from issuing enabling documents and other activities which were negatively impacted due to Covid 19.
The positive impact of the health facilities is demonstrated by the 42.3% of births registered in 2021/2022 were done at health facilities which is an increase from 33.4% in 2020/2021. We anticipate that the numbers of birth registration in health facilities will increase in the current financial year.
Chair we are making progress in strengthening our partnership with the banks in support of the rollout of the smart ID card and the machine-readable passports. We currently have 28 bank branches connected to the Live Capture system to enable online processing of smart ID card and passport applications.
Our clients need customised and personalised services due to the unique nature of their needs hence our technology must respond to such unique needs. We have clients with names that have special characters, fingerprints that are damaged by years of physical labour, amputees due to medical or accidents and many other challenges.
It is our duty to ensure that our systems respond to such individuals irrespective of their challenges hence we continue to enhance our technology to have multimodal biometrics like facial recognition.
The 2022/2023 budget will see us exploring new ways to better service citizens. We will procure kiosks that will allow clients to self-service for passports and smart ID applications and reprint birth, marriage and death certificates. The kiosk will be designed in the manner that will require authentication through biometrics and will be located in strategic areas to allow access even after office hours or weekends. The self-service Kiosk will usher a new era in the manner in which we service our clients.
The recently piloted Branch Appointment Booking System that the Minister mentioned earlier is proving to be the solution in as far as dealing with the management of queues. The Branch Appointment Booking System can be accessed by clients through the Home Affairs website and is web based.
It provides citizens with the ability to book the dates and time slot of their choice and is linked to the national population register for additional security. The rollout of the system will follow a phased approach and 43 large offices will have the system by 30 June 2022 and 120 medium offices will have the system by 31 October 2022 and 34 small offices by 30 November 2022 and the remaining offices will continue as walk in services.
The Branch Appointment Booking System pilot currently operates on a hybrid model in the 25 offices that we have rolled in because we didn’t want to turn away clients that have not made a booking and it is only used to book for applications of passports and Smart ID cards only.
In the future we would like to only service booked clients for those two products because it is our firm belief that scheduling an appointment for those two products is possible compared to scheduling a death or birth registration because those are occurrences that are not planned for in advance hence we will continue to take walk ins for those two services. The citizens will be able to access the Home Affairs website link to schedule an appointment on their desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
We are exploring partnerships with more institutions and are in discussions with the South African Post Office to extend accessibility of our services.
We are also exploring opening offices in the major shopping centres in which we envisage a positive uptake, with five of the malls having offered rent-free space for five years.
I would like to appreciate the work that continues to be done by our National Youth Forum. The Home Affairs National Youth Forum continues to be a pillar of support in improving service quality. The Home Affairs Youth Forum in the previous financial year conducted outreach programmes with other youth sectors in government and in the NGO sector. In this area, a key activity for this year is the National Youth Imbizo. They have also led the weekend volunteer program where specific offices are opened to service learners and the youth over weekends.
Chairperson, we have the responsibility to ensure that the budget is managed in a responsible manner that is free of corruption, a budget must do what it is meant for that derives value for money. we are pleased that the department achieved an unqualified audit result in respect of the 2020/21 financial year.
This was the fifth successive unqualified audit opinion for the department. Matters preventing the department from achieving a clean audit outcome are the impairment of receivables and accrued departmental revenue. We do acknowledge that there is still more to be done in improving the departments audit outcomes but our ability to maintain an unqualified audit opinion means we are taking correct steps in the right direction.
Through our collective commitment and resilience, I believe that the vision of a modern, secure Department of Home Affairs that strategically delivers its full constitutional mandate is within reach.
Already there are pockets of excellence. As you may recall, at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, our front offices were confronted with extraordinarily long queues. The East London large office is an example of our commitment to improve service delivery.
By voluntarily starting work at 6 am along with a few innovative measures, the Office Manager, Mr Alie van Heerden, and his team have managed to turn things around.
On a normal day, public members are served swiftly and efficiently, and the sight of long queues is no longer a problem for this particular office.
I invite Honourable Members who visited that office a long time ago to go there now and see how the situation has improved.
There are many other examples that we can give of officials who go beyond the call of duty. We wish to applaud all of them for the good work they are doing.
I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to the Minister, the DG and the entire management team of Home Affairs for continuing to working tirelessly in steering the ship. We must remember that our task is never to point to problems but our task is to resolve the complex problems.
I would like to further thank the Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs for their steadfast support and counsel over the years. Through their continued oversight and valuable guidance, together we can build a future-fit Home Affairs department.
I thank you.