May I take this opportunity to inform Parliament that the Deputy Minister, Fatima Chohan is not present today because she represents the National Assembly on the Judicial Services Commission which is in session.
This Budget Vote comes against the backdrop of the commemoration of the 18th anniversary of the assassination of one of the finest sons and heroes of our land, Chris Hani, the forthcoming Local Government Elections scheduled for 18 May as well as the centenary celebrations of the birth of the African National Congress (ANC) on 8 January 2012.
It is in this context, that we must as a nation pause and reflect on how the South Africa of 1912 looked, in order to appreciate the progress thus far.Then power was exclusively in the hands of a white minority who regarded the black majority as units of cheap labour rather than as citizens. South Africa was fractured and divided by racial discrimination, class oppression, with black women suffering triple oppression – race, class and gender.There was no common sense of nationhood amongst all people.The 1913 Land Act brought massive land dispossession to the majority.Most of us did not have the right to vote until 1994.
The struggle for liberation went on for all those decades in various forms including armed struggle until 1990 with the commencement of negotiations.Chris Hani who had dedicated his entire life to the struggle for liberation said upon his return to South Africa after three decades of exile: “I have lived with death most of my life.I want to live in a free South Africa even if I have to lay down my life for it.”
He indeed laid down his life in the hands of an assassin, as did young Solomon Mahlangu who was executed by the apartheid regime.We recall President Nelson Mandela’s speech on the 13 April 1993 when he said, “Tonight I am reaching out to every single South African, black and white, from the very depths of my being.A white man, full of prejudice and hate, came to our country and committed a deed so foul that our whole nation now teeters on the brink of disaster.A white woman, of Afrikaner origin, risked her life so that we may know, and bring to justice, this assassin.The cold-blooded murder of Chris Hani has sent shock waves throughout the country and the world.Our grief and anger is tearing us apart.What has happened is a national tragedy that has touched millions of people, across the political and colour divide.”
This tragedy brought a watershed moment in the history of our country.A moment in which we as a nation could have succumbed to the objectives of those forces who sought to turn the clock of history backwards – or as Nelson Mandela said, a moment in which we could use our pain, our grief and outrage to move forward to what is the only lasting solution for our country – an elected government of the people, by the people and for the people.
In May 2011 South Africa will witness her fourth democratic Local Government Elections in which our people will exercise once more their right to vote.We carry the constitutional mandate to support the work of the IEC to deliver a credible, free and fair election.In this regard, I am happy to announce that we have disbursed the required funds to the IEC to enable it to deliver on its mandate.
As we move towards the Local Government elections, we should remember that this was achieved because many South Africans were ready to lay down their lives for this freedom.Every citizen should therefore, including the youth, go out and vote.Those elected and officials currently in government, including ourselves, should never forget that governments are elected by the people to serve the people honestly and in the best possible way.
The Constitution entrusts the Department with a dual mandate.In this regard, we are the custodians of the identity of all South African citizens critical to which is the issuance of birth, marriage and death certificates; identity documents and passports; citizenship; naturalization and permanent residence certificates.The full spectrum of identity management goes beyond mere issuance of secure documents; it encompasses the safe maintenance and archiving of biometric and demographic records of citizens and persons who have been permitted to reside in South Africa.
Our second deals with effective, secure and humane management of immigration.It is important to recall that the South African nation is a product of many streams of history and culture, representing the origins, dispersal and re-integration of humanity over hundreds of thousands of years. Immigration will therefore continue to play a part into the foreseeable future.
Dedicating ourselves to the ideals of the founders of the ANC, and in the context of consolidating this common identity and citizenship, we have undertaken steps to ensure that every South African over the age of 16 has an ID and every baby born is issued with a birth certificate within 30 days of delivery, through the launch in March 2010 of the National Population Registration (NPR) Campaign.
The success of the Campaign necessarilylay inthe understanding that this is a government by the people, for the people and that we had to forge partnerships between ourselves and the people to succeed.In pursuance thereof, we have mobilised our people in various communities into Stakeholder forums, thus giving expression to the clause in the Freedom Charter “the people shall govern”.In this regard we have formed 254 Stakeholder Forums representing 90% of municipalities throughout the country.They comprise leaders and members of the communities, Home Affairs, and other related government departments.
I am happy to welcome among us today representatives of these Stakeholder Forums who serve in stakeholder forums across the country freely without any expectation of financial or personal reward.For them this is national duty.We owe it to them to succeed.
We have not established these forums to add to existing layers of bureaucracy in the Department.The forums improve our quality of service delivery by identifying needs in the communities, oversight of offices, and resolving problems innovatively. Where gaps and challenges have been identified the Department is responding positively by implementing the requisite measures.These measures include increasing our footprint, deploying more staff in existing offices and mobile offices as well as opening new offices especially in rural areas.
In our campaign to ensure that all babies receive birth certificates and those who are 16 years and older receive IDs, the following progress has been registered:
499 957 babies were registered within 30 days;
456 675 babies were registered between 30 days to 1 year;
130 284 were registered after one year but before 15 years old;
190 091 were registered after 16 years old
We have surpassed our target of 70% of children being registered within the first year of birth.We have reduced dramatically on children being registered after 16 years old.
1 091 511 sixteen year olds and above received IDs for the first time – 257 000 more than in the previous financial year.
In support of this campaign:
189 hospitals and health facilities nationally have been linked to our database to ensure babies can be registered online before they leave hospital or within 30 days of delivery.141 hospitals have Home Affairs officials collecting documents and processing them daily.
We take this opportunity to reiterate our national call for parents to register their babies within 30 days of birth and acquire IDs at 16 years old.
Realising that the objectives of this campaign had to be transmitted as widely as possible, we were also, in the last year supported through innovative means of communication including the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in the match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, Lotto, Motswako, Pampers and indeed Generations.We thank you all for your support.
Government had asked us to cost the production of all services rendered including, amongst others, IDs, passports, birth and death certificates in preparation for the introduction of new tariffs which were gazetted in January this year.We would like to emphasize that the government provides each South African citizen with the first ID, free of charge as well as the first birth certificate and death certificate free of charge.If you want the second or third issue of these documents, only then that you pay.
This year 1 353 256 people applied for reissues of their IDs – their second or third.We presently have 494 367 uncollected IDs – almost half a million in various offices and a further 266 785 at Head Office.In total there are more than 750 000 uncollected IDs, most of which are re-issues.Government is therefore spending a lot of money re-issuing IDs to people who do not collect them when we can better use this money elsewhere.
Reissues also increase the possibility of duplicate ID’s and identity theft by unscrupulous elements.In a survey conducted in Pretoria by the Department, we found that most people who had not collected their IDs had applied for new ones when they had merely misplaced them.Once they had found their IDs, they did not return to our offices to collect the reissued ones.Wemust remember we all have a responsibility to value and protect our Ids.
I must emphasize that we implemented the tariff increases after running an ID campaign for more than a year.We also made sure that everyone who wanted to vote had the opportunity to register.The tariffs only cover the costs of producing the documents.
However in the event of natural disasters such as floods and fire leading to destruction of such documents as ID’s, birth, marriage and death certificates, the documents will be replaced free of charge.
We also apologise for not communicating this sufficiently before the implementation of the new tariffs.
We achieved what we had set out to do during the 2010 FIFA World Cup including collaborating with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to roll out the following 2010 legacy projects:
·An enhanced Movement Control System (eMCS) at the 34 priority ports of entry.
·This enabled the rapid and secure facilitation, from May to July 2010, of 2 387 524 visitors, of which 828 841 were from Africa.This excludes South African citizens.
·Other measures implemented included the Advanced Passenger Processing (APP) System, the deployment of Airline Liaison Officers (ALO) as well as an historic Event Visa.These initiatives assisted us in preventing undesirable elements from entering South Africa during this period and are now being used to assist South Africa manage immigration securely and effectively while assisting us to push back the frontiers of crime and corruption.
Although we have made great strides in achieving our objectives in terms of civic services, we will continue to consolidate our work in this area.
But we are prioritising immigration in the 2011/12 financial year.In the words of Oliver Tambo, whose death we commemorate on 24 April, South Africa is a “varied land of snow-capped mountain peaks, of deserts and sub-tropical greenery covering vast mineral resources. Its warm seas to the east and cold ones to the west contain also large animal and mineral resources.”And its people of “their varied cultures which are continuously mingling and interacting to their mutual enrichment, exhibit, despite their conditions, a great love for life and a sensitive joy in the creative and human endeavours of the people of the world, withoutexception.”Immigration will continue to provide us with the opportunity to ensure we indeed have this continuous mingling and mutual enrichment of our nation.
As part of government’s New Growth Path we will over the next three years, work with other departments and economic sectors to proactively attract critical skills – whilst producing our own – in addition to investors and tourists from abroad.These critical skills will include among others engineers – civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical – agronomists, suitably qualified artisans, scientists, senior project managers, environmental experts, ICT specialists, economic planners and others.
Immigration must however be effectively managed to protect our sovereignty and secure our nation from the threat of transnational crime and terrorism. In this regard, we will train our officials to be responsive and vigilant with respect to the needs of clients as well as security concerns.We will also be rationalising our ports of entry to move resources to where they can be optimally used.
We have also centralised permitting and cleared the backlog.
We remain committed to honouring our international obligations to protect those who legitimately seek respite from persecution in line with international and domestic laws.Ours is to determine and protect the status of asylum seekers by providing them with relevant documents and permits.We are reviewing and overhauling our asylum seeker management processes to ensure there is adequate capacity and expertise at all levels of the process to ensure its security and efficiency.We will also enhance our National Immigration Information System (NIIS) which is used to register asylum seekers and refugees while reducing the backlog at the adjudication and review/appeals level.
We have to adopt a regional approach to mixed migration with a view to curbing the abuse of the asylum seeker process and ensure the issue receives the attention of SADC.We will therefore, amongst others, strengthen controls at our borders and ports of entry in cooperation with our neighbours.
In the previous financial year the Department undertook a comprehensive review of the legislation governing its work so that we could ensure its relevance.We are pleased to report today that the South African Citizenship and Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bills have passed through both Houses of Parliament and have been assented into law.The Department is currently engaged with the finalisation of the necessary Regulations.Amendments to the Refugees and Immigration Acts are currently in the parliamentary process.
We are pleased to report that progress has been made regarding the transformation of the Department including our audit from the Auditor-General.In 2010 we received a qualified audit with one qualification related to asset management, a marked improvement from previous years.We will continue to work towards an unqualified audit in 2011/12 moving towards a clean audit by 2012/13.
Programme of Action (PoA)
Now that the Who Am I Online (WAIO) contract issues have been resolved we will, as part of our programme of action for this financial year, roll out the live capture for IDs and passports which will greatly enhance efficiency, security and service delivery as well as the development and implementation of an integrated system of both the immigration and civic systems.This will include a complete overhaul of the National Population Register and will be a collaborative effort with SARS, Government Printing Works (GPW) and the Department of Finance.
We have introduced an operational model which aligns the Department with all three tiers of government.We now have provincial, regional and local offices.In addition and to ensure citizens receive services wherever they may be, we are also using mobile offices and temporary service points.
As part of ensuring access and quality service delivery to our clients, last year we refurbished 30 offices in line with our new corporate model, as some members have just witnessed at our Barrack Street Office.
We have also implemented a queue-management system in 13 of our offices. In addition, all our officials are now under directive to wear their name tags during working hours. Similarly we have increased accessibility of the public to the department’s top management through the placement of their contact details including mobile and offices numbers as well as their email addresses on both the posters in all our offices and departmental website.Please call any of these numbers should you not be satisfied with the service received at any of our offices.We are now open to the public from 07h30 to 16h30 from Monday to Friday and from 08h30 to 12h30 on Saturdays.
We have succeeded in meeting our 2010 target to fill all management posts with a few exceptions. We have also increased the numbers of officials tasked, in particular, with servicing hospitals and our 117 mobile offices.Going forward, we are prioritising the filling of front-line posts.
Last year we committed to piloting the smart card.In this regard, we are pleased to inform this House that this has been done.GPW has produced the Crew Member Certificate which is used internationally by our pilots and crew members.This has laid a solid foundation for piloting an ID smart card in this financial year with a role out in the 2012/13 financial year.
The budget of the Department includes funding for the Film and Publications Board (FPB).We are pleased that the FPB will finalise its turn-around strategy this year, aimed at delivering a more efficient and functional organisation with simpler and more convenient business processes for distributors and clients.
We remain committed to uprooting fraud and corruption as part of coordinated efforts by government to rid our country of this scourge.Collaborating with all other law enforcement agencies, we shall ensure that those implicated face the full might of the law.We will also use technology to prevent fraud.
At this time I express my appreciation to those hardworking and honest Home Affairs officials and managers for the sterling work done in the past year, led by the Director-General Mkuseli Apleni.
Before I conclude I would like to remind all citizens that South Africa’s third population count will take place from 10 – 31 October 2011.Government urges each of you to stand up and be counted by the 120 000 enumerators from the communities who will be deployed across the country.The results of the Census 2011 will guide government in its allocation of resources to improve access to basic services further giving expression to our commitment to create a better life for all.
As former President Nelson Mandela said, Chris Hani’s “death demands that we pursue the cause [of freedom, democracy and justice] with even greater determination.”We must indeed recommit ourselves to achieving these ideals.A sacrifice such as Chris Hani’s deserves no less.
We extend our appreciation to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee Maggie Maunye and honourable members of the Committee for their support in assisting us during the year to ensure we deliver on our constitutional mandate.We request honourable members to support our Budget Vote.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
12 Apr 2011