Department of Home Affairs: Strategic Plan 2008-11 and Transformation Programme
The Department of Home Affairs briefed the Committee on the Transformation Programme, which had been undertaken when the Auditor-General’s disclaimer report in 2004-5 confirmed that the Department required drastic action. The Ministers of Home Affairs, Finance and Public Service and Administration had galvanised a Support Intervention Team (SIT) which came into effect in June 2006. This team had analysed the Department’s challenges and presented a report in 2007, which formed the basis of the Turnaround Strategy. This report identified problems in service delivery, internal control and financial management, leadership and management, Human Resources and Information and Communication Technology. It was aimed to deliver a turnaround in three years. Phase 1 had been largely concerned with design. Phase 2, in which the process was currently, aimed to work through 55 projects across seven work divisions. It was based upon defined principles of governance.
The Department then presented the 2008/9 Strategic plan and budget. It noted that the vision, mission and values were based upon Batho Pele principles of ethical conduct, accountability, flexibility and professionalism and transparency. The first mandate was to identify and confirm the status of persons, and to issue documents that helped people gain access to their rightful benefits and opportunities within the public and private sector. The Department’s second mandate was to manage migration at ports of entry as well as consulates and to resolve the status of asylum seekers. The six strategic objectives were outlined as provision of sound services, proper management of migration, establishment of the status of refuge and asylum seekers, galvanising regional and international cooperation with economic growth through major events, implementing a new organisational model and establishing support services that prevented corruption. These were analysed in detail, with time frames and objectives being specified over the next three years. The budget was described as R4.5 billion for 2008/9, rising to R5.2 billion by 2010/11. The breakdown across the programmes was given. Finally, it was explained that a decision had been taken to manage certain matters – mostly in civic services – by zones instead of provinces, and an analysis of the benefits of this was given.
Members raised questions around what made this turnaround strategy different from previous ones, and expressed their concerns around ID applications, the allocation of 40% of budget to administration, the fact that South Africa’s borders were so porous and the management of refugees. Concerns were expressed about the proposed smart card, the corruption involving the IDs of deceased persons, recordal of marriages to foreign complete strangers, the impact of the Transformation Plan on the 2010 events, the number of learners at high schools without ID documents and the effectiveness of the mobile offices. The call centre and SMS service were praised as efficient. Further queries, which were to be answered in writing, related to the processing system, the queues at offices, the fact that people were seeking redress through the press and the gender planning.
Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Transformation Programme
Mr Mavuso Msimang, Director General, Department of Home Affairs briefed the Committee on the Transformation Programme. The audit for 2004-05 confirmed that there was a dire need for change. The Ministers of Home Affairs, Finance and Public Service and Administration had galvanised a Support Intervention Team (SIT) which came into effect in June 2006. SIT had analysed the Department’s challenges and made recommendations. They had presented a report in 2007 and it had been accepted by the Committee of Ministers.
SIT had identified problems regarding service delivery, internal control and financial management, leadership and management, Human Resources and Information and Communication Technology. The objective of the Minster was to deliver a turn around within three years. Phase one of the Turnaround focused on a number of quick wins and design. Focal areas included ID processes, Operations Management, Permits and Refugees, Employee Relations, a Track and Trace and Contact Centre, Contracts, Finance and Risk, Information Technology (IT) and Strategic Initiatives in Governance.
The DHA identified 55 projects, which formed part of seven work divisions. These were civic services, National Immigration Branch (NIB), Support Services, Finance and Information Technology (IT), Organisational Implementation and Organisational Governance& Operational Control. Of the seven, organisational implementation and organisational governance and control were cross-complementary.
Phase 2 of the programme design was based upon five principles of governance, bottom-up building, top-down programme structure, prioritisation and sequencing. The Department was presently busy with the second phase and this would be reported upon in the current year.
Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Strategic Plan and Budget 2008/09 to 2010-11
Mr Mavuso Msimang presented the strategic plan and budget to the Committee. He firstly set out the vision, mission and values to the Committee. These were based upon Batho Pele principles of ethical conduct, accountability, flexibility and professionalism and transparency. The Department had aligned the mandates with two key national priorities. The first mandate was to identify and confirm the status of persons and to issue documents that helped people gain access to their rightful benefits and opportunities within the public and private sector. Mr Msimang stressed the importance of assuring people’s democratic right to have access to these benefits and opportunities. The Department’s second mandate was to manage migration at ports of entry as well as consulates and to resolve the status of asylum seekers.
Mr Msimang then highlighted six strategic objectives. The Department aimed to provide sound services and products to citizens and legitimate residents within allocated , to manage migration properly by galvanising the movement of skilled workers into South Africa, and efficiently and securely assisting with the entry, duration of stay and departure or exiting of visitors. It also aimed to resolve the status of refuge or asylum seekers and manage their affairs in accordance with international treaties and the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. It would galvanise regional and international co-operation towards economic growth, especially through its efforts in major events such as the FIFA world cup. It would implement a new organisational model characterised by caring officials who operated with professionalism, and finally it would put into place support services that prevented corruption
Mr Msimang proceeded to analyse those six objectives, setting out measurable outputs, targets for 2008/09, targets for 2009/10 and targets for 2010/11 in respect of each. He said that for each activity, time frames were allocated (see attached presentation for full details).
The total budget of the Department for 2008/9 was R4.5 billion, rising to R5.2 billion by 2010/11. The breakdown across the programmes was detailed. He indicated that the Administration programme would include the Minister, The Deputy Minister, Corporate Services, Financial Services, Information Services (GITO), Transversal Information Technology (IT) Projects, Government Motor Transport and Property Management. Services to Citizens referred to Management, Status Services, Identification, the Home Affairs National Identity System (HANIS), the Customer Service Centre and Provincial Civic Services. Immigration Services referred to Management, Admissions, Immigration Control, Provincial Immigration Control and Refugee Affairs. Transfers to Agencies referred to the Film and Publication Board, Government Printing Works and the Electoral Commission.
Mr Msimang then turned to an addendum to the Strategic Plan, which noted that the Department would henceforth be managing certain matters by zones as opposed to provinces. This largely related to the civics functions. The purpose was to create a more efficient organisation and reporting lines, which would in turn improve effective service delivery. He highlighted, for instance, that anything to do with immigrants arrived at OJ Tambo International Airport would not be dealt with by the area and regional managers in Gauteng, but would be referred directly to the person responsible for immigration at Head Office.
Mr B Tolo (ANC Mpumalanga) noted that this was the third turnaround strategy that he had listened to over the past few years for DHA. He wanted to know how this specific turnaround strategy was different to the ones in the past.
Mr Tolo had visited Morabastad two months ago and voiced his concerns about the inhumane living conditions there. He also noted that there had been concerns expressed about applications for new Identity Documents (IDs).
The Chairperson noted that she had visited Morabastad recently and that there had been a drastic improvement.
Mr Tolo referred to the Department’s budget allocation and voiced a concern about why Administration had been allocated almost 40% of the budget.
Mr Tolo was outspoken about how porous South Africa’s borders were and was concerned that anybody could gain easy and illegal access into the country.
Mr Tolo expressed his concerns about the management of refugees. He voiced concerns on integration policies for those that were currently displaced. He addressed the need for South Africa to work according to the United Nations (UN) protocol. He added that some refugees were rich after entering the country with absolutely nothing and that he and others wondered how it was possible that those refugees could acquire such sudden wealth.
Ms J Vilakazi (IFP, Kwazulu Natal) noted concerns about the proposed smart card.
Ms Vilakazi was concerned about the proclamation of deceased persons and wanted to know how the Department checked death and verified that the information was true, before making entries on the systems. There was much corruption on this.
Ms H Lamoela (DA, Western Cape) commended the DG on his Department’s strategy and all its quick fixes. However, she emphasised the importance of adhering to the allocated time frames.
Ms Lamoela wanted to know how many refugees there were in the Western Cape.
Ms Lamoela raised concerns about the impact of the Transformation Plan and asked in particular how this would impact 2010.
Ms Lamoela questioned the number of learners in high schools who still did not have Identity Documents. The question of mobile offices at high schools was posed, with regards to the application for and education around Identity Documents.
Ms Mazibuko shared this concerns.
A Member commended the Department’s call centre and said that the service was good and swift. The same was true of the SMS service
A Member noted that there were still problems concerning a number of persons who were unmarried, yet recorded as married to foreigners.
Ms F Mazibuko (Gauteng) enquired about gender focal points in the Department’s structure.
Ms Mazibuko asked when the Committee would be receiving the Auditor-General’s report.
Ms Mazibuko was concerned about people in the provinces who were dissatisfied with service delivery around the issuing of Identity Documents (ID), and who would seek help through the media rather than seeking help from the Department.
Mr M Sulliman (ANC Northern Cape) said that although this was a good presentation, he was still worried about the problems of queuing at the Department’s offices.
The Chairperson asked whether the ID processing system was still manual.
Mr Msimang answered to these questions in general. He noted that although the scepticism on the part of the public could be understood, in light of the past history, the attempts to rebuild the Department were of utmost importance if drastic change was to be achieved. He said that the whole strategic plan was based upon time frames and the Department would be working towards these. He confirmed that crime and corruption remained a major concern within the Department, and that syndicates promoting corruption through fabricated marriages to strangers and the use of deceased persons ID’s were unfortunate symptoms of that corruption. Crime syndicates were always on the look out for loopholes in the system and he understood the frustration. The Department was attempting to address corruption and security at all levels. Having said that, however, he said that some of the “illegal” marriages had been discovered in fact to be legal as the marriage was for the purpose of one partner gaining South African citizenship. He added that these were called marriages of convenience. This was not always the case, and he could not deny that there was at times some corruption.
Mr Msimang noted the plight of the people in Morabastad and added that the Department was in the process of setting up an office nearby.
Mr Msimang said that it was not the duty of the print media to act on behalf of people who had problems with identity document and service providers within the Department should be those to whom they turned as they could act. Mr Msimang said that the border problems were put at the feet of DHA but in fact it was not the responsibility of this Department to ensure that nationals did not cross the South African border illegally. The DHA had neither the mandate nor the capacity for that. It was the responsibility of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to stop illegal entry across borders. It was also not the responsibility of the Department of Home Affairs to provide housing for refugees or employment.
Mr Msimang said that the new migration plan had indeed taken gender into account.
Mr Msimang then said that the DHA had an ID campaign for learners, which was done in collaboration with the SABC. He also noted the efforts of the mobile units that went into schools to educate learners with regard to their IDs. He discussed the progress thus far with regard to the implementation of the ID smart cards. He said that concrete plans regarding the ID smart card project had been put into place and that a time frame had been conferred.
Mr Msimang added that he could respond to the Committee’s concerns in writing.
The Committee did not adopt the outstanding Committee minutes due to time constraints.
The meeting was adjourned.