Budget Vote 4 -
Home Affairs

 

By Mrs Helen Makhuba MP
 

National Assembly: 14 April 2010

 

Honourable Speaker,

 

On behalf of the IFP, let me first welcome the newly appointed Director-General, Mr Mkuseli Apleni. We look forward to a good working relationship.

 

In order for the Department of Home Affairs to fulfil it's civic functions of acting as the custodian of citizenship and identity as well as being the regulator of immigration, ports of entry and the promoter of international relations it requires a very dedicated, efficient and competent leadership and staffing contingent.

 

The IFP holds the department of Home Affairs very close to its heart and takes a very active interest in its development and management.

 

In the area of performance delivery we note that the department has had a mixture of successes and failures with target turnaround times regarding the issue and re-issue of identity documents, birth, marriage, death certificates and passports. We further note that it has set itself even higher turnaround goals for the 2010/11 period. We hope that the department is not following an "over promise and under deliver" strategy and caution it to rather set incremental goals that are more readily achievable.

 

Another issue is the misinformation which is being given to citizens when they interact with the Department, which results in a citizen having to make five trips to the departmental offices in order to obtain an identity document or passport. This is unacceptable and its cause must be identified and corrected.

 

Praise however is in order for the Department's call centre with its very efficient handling of public queries and for its pro-active approach with the "Who am I" project, which promotes the transition to a paperless working environment.

 

The issuing of identity documents at schools is also a step in the right direction and should alleviate a great deal of burden from the Home Affairs frontline offices. Pro-active initiatives such as these will go a long way in assisting the department with its performance delivery.

 

Currently the Department's major focus should be on preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the sudden influx of foreign tourists and football teams that will begin entering our country within the next 57 days. We trust that the Minister is prioritising the changes to the immigration procedures as specified by FIFA, and that the football fans will have a problem free entry and exit from South Africa. Another grave concern is the increase in human trafficking that will occur around the World Cup. Are all of our officials at our ports of entry properly trained to identify and handle situations of this nature if and when they arise?

 

Within the Department the IFP is very concerned that the spectre of corruption and poor work ethic is raising its head. This must be dealt with swiftly and decisively as it eventually leads to total departmental dysfunction which impacts negatively on the lives of our citizens, as they receive sub-standard service in their departmental dealings, and we therefore urge Minister Dlamini-Zuma to attend to this as a matter of urgency.

 

The Independent Electoral Commission, whilst doing an admirable job with the elections, has still not remunerated many election officers in rural areas for work done during last years April election. This is unacceptable and must be rectified as these election officers are amongst the most needy of our country. We are facing local government elections in 2011 and do not want see a repeat of this situation.

 

The smartcard ID system which was introduced more than 10 years ago and approved by Cabinet in 2001 has yet to materialise. Last year the Minister indicated that the Smart Card process had been stopped, and admitted last month that National Treasury has not given the Department any budget allocation for the project this year. The Minister needs to provide clarity on this project.

 

These are but a few of the many challenges that face Minister Dlamini-Zuma and her team during this year, it is an extra-ordinary year in that we have the World Cup and a year in which the Department will have to step-up it's game in order to achieve the lofty goals which it has set for itself.

 

In conclusion, the IFP supports the vote.

 

I thank you.

 

Contact:
Mrs Helen Makhuba MP
073 268 3063