Unabriged budget address: Deputy Minister of Home Affairs

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Statement by Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, M Gigaba, during the 2010/11 budget vote four presentation, Extended Public Committee

14 April 2010

Chairperson

Honourable Minister of Home Affairs

Honourable members

Ladies and gentlemen

First and foremost, I would also like to take this opportunity to pay special tribute to our fallen colleague, Dr Molefi Sefularo. We join the rest of South Africans in paying everlasting tribute to this dedicated and humble patriot.

Chairperson,
100 years ago, on 31 May 1910, after the bloody South African war, inaptly dubbed the Anglo Boer War, the Union of South Africa was established as a “white man’s country” where the black majority was purposely excluded, denied universal franchise and treated as cheap labour.

The union finally formalised the political unity between the Brits and the Boers that constituted the white political establishment and for almost a century, South Africa was to remain a white man’s country where race was to play a decisive and divisive role, where the diversity of South Africans became a source of their pain and division.

Our country has traversed a long journey to where we are today. Whilst we still carry with us the painful imprints of our past, today we are a nation and people steadfastly committed to constructing a new future based on unity, equality and respect for each other’s rights and diversity.

The Republic of South Africa born 16 years ago, is a firm negation of the racist chauvinism of 1910 and a resolute affirmation of the historic vision that South Africa belongs to all who live in it; black and white.

The Department of Home Affairs, which has the honour to present its budget vote today, is part of this vision, determined that we should do all we can to affirm all our people’s yearning to belong to a common nation, share a common identity and toil towards a common future. We remain resolute in our commitment never to allow this department ever again to be used in schemes to divide South Africans, but to be part of the broad movement to affirm our people’s common identity and citizenship.

Chairperson,

In the last financial year we made certain pronouncements and commitments about how we intended to spend public funds. Today, we would like to account on our performance in that regard and outline our priorities for the new financial year.

Chairperson,

In order to enhance our skills base as well as our leadership capabilities, we announced plans to establish the Home Affairs Learning Academy. As we committed ourselves, we are pleased to announce that we did finalise the academy’s business case and a Home Affairs qualification with clear unit standards focusing on the core business of the department and customer care. We are now in the process of finalising the accreditation of the department as a learning site.

The learning academy will begin to be operational during this financial year. We have further decided that the academy will deal with policy development for the department as well as knowledge management. The academy has been allocated R40.8 million during this financial year.

For this financial year, our training will focus on training supervisors and front office officials in both civic and immigration management services in customer service, customer service management, operational excellence to ensure uniform processes and other needs based interventions.

The fact of the matter is that the situation in Home Affairs is not normal. Accordingly, it should be business unusual. We have met with Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and agreed with them that they shall, on our behalf, engage the banks to second managers to train our officials, especially those involved in front office operations in order to improve customer service.

Furthermore, to contribute to the programme to enhance youth employability, the department intends this year recruit 244 youth for the internship and 300 for the national youth service programmes. The recruitment of interns is already underway and they will soon join the department.

Asylum seekers and refugee affairs

In the last financial year we committed ourselves to improving operational efficiency and effectiveness of refugee affairs. Our intention was to improve the turnaround time for the determination of refugee status and significantly increase the quantitative number of decisions made by our officials. We wanted radically to improve the protection mechanisms for genuine asylum seekers and refugees in adherence to our international obligations.

In this regard, we have improved the number of days it takes to issue section 22 permit from seven days to one day. We have increased the numbers of our refugee status determination officers and they have in turn increased the number of their decisions from an average of five decisions per week to an average of seven decisions per day.

We still have a serious challenge to improve the quality of the decisions and compliance with newly designed methods of work and business processes.

Although we have improved efficiency in all our refugee reception centres and established the Musina Reception Centre, we recognise that we still have serious challenges with the Cape Town office. We intend to establish an additional centre in Bloemfontein with further roll out envisaged for the remaining provinces in outer years. This has been referred to the Business unit for inclusion in their operational plan.

Having successfully improved operational efficiency, we intend to begin this year completely to overhaul the strategic thrust of refugee policy and legislation. This overhaul will impact extensively on the asylum processes and the details thereof will be announced during the course of the year.

Through this exercise, among others, we hope to separate economic migrants from genuine asylum seekers and thereby resolve this ostensibly intractable problem that puts immense pressure on the system. This is precisely why we began engaging various stakeholders such as trade unions and business on the issue of economic migrants, with the purpose to evolve a policy on the matter. We intend to continue with this very important exercise.

Last year, we also committed ourselves to intensify the campaign against xenophobia. We are pleased to report that as part of this effort we have already trained 102 community development workers and 23 secondary schools in affected areas in Gauteng. We are also working with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other key stakeholders, professionals and activists.

Fighting xenophobia is ultimately the responsibility of the public as a whole and consequently this programme must be premised on mobilising the communities at large against the scourge of xenophobia. During this financial year, we will improve the department’s institutional capacity to lead and coordinate sustainable interventions by creating a directorate with sufficient resource capacity to lead the programme against xenophobia, focusing on integration and creating harmony. The programme itself is in the process of drafting.

On Films and Publication Board (FPB)

As you would know, the Films and Publication Amendment Act was finally signed into law by the president and both the act and regulations are operational. We will within 30 days finalise the appointment of the council of the FPB.

We continued to make strides in the past financial year particularly in the campaign against child pornography through mass outreach programmes. We further enhanced our international partnerships and both our 24 hours call centre and internet hotline are working very well.

We are still awaiting the report of the Law Reform Commission on our request for advice on the possibility to prohibit pornography in the mass media, public broadcasters as well as internet and mobile phones. We are determined that we should have legislation in this regard in order to protect our children. Those who want to view pornography must do so in the privacy of well regulated adult shops.

It is for this reason that we celebrated with most South Africans when MultiChoice climbed down from the idea of establishing a 24 hour pornography channel. We applaud all South Africans who stood firm in the rejection of this nefarious idea and regret that MultiChoice even thought of this in the first instance. We must continue steadfastly to refuse to accept it that pornography be brought into our living rooms.

During this financial year, we will review and implement the compliance strategy targeting illegal distribution, content, annual renewals and registrations. We will also develop a turnaround strategy to ensure the alignment of the FPB structure, systems and processes.

We will also establish a dedicated unit to oversee the rollout of the 2010 FIFA World Cup projects in so far as child protection is concerned, focusing on the rollout of a massive public awareness campaign on the risks to children. R15 million has been dedicated to the world cup public awareness campaigns. The FPB has been allocated R55.2 million and the balance of its funds will be derived from regulation fees.

On Government Printing Works (GPW)

Over the past few years, we have been seized with the challenge of the transformation of Government Printing Works to position it as a security printer of choice for government and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. We have decided to position the organisation as key player in the smart card and passport industry.

In this regard, we are pleased to report that we have completed the conversion of the GPW into a government component. We should soon complete the appointment of its advisory board in terms of the act.

At this stage, we are in the process of changing the organisational structure of GPW and finalising the migration of its staff into the new structure.

The conversion has made it possible for GPW to negotiate and implement a special salary dispensation for artisans, which should somehow address the challenge of recruitment and retention of skilled artisans for the organisation. Following years of adverse audit opinion, the GPW is on its way to a clean audit. We have finally recruited a well qualified and experienced Chief Financial Officer to lead this endeavour.

The organisation continues to make headways in the region and once we have completed the transformation process, it will play a strategic role in the security printing business in the region, especially in the smart card and passport business. We will accordingly complete the second pavilion that will result in the relocation of the entire factory to a new and refurbished plant.

Honourable members, you will remember that we have spoken about this on many occasions in the past and we are pleased that we will ultimately complete this process during this financial year. More modern equipment will be procured further to enhance the modernisation process.

Through effective marketing, we will focus on consolidating existing markets and customers, penetrating the Sub-Saharan market, growing GPW’s market share in the security printing industry and ensuring a return on investments. The organisation is allocated R97 million for this financial year and they will make the remainder of their revenue from the business.

Chairperson,

I wish to conclude by thanking the minister for her studious and steadfast leadership and support, as well as the Director-General, senior managers and all the officials in the ministry and department for their support in the execution of our mandate.

Honourable members, we commend before you this budget vote for 2010/11.

I thank you.

Enquiries:

Siobhan McCarthy

Cell: 082 8866 708

E-mail: [email protected]

Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
14 April 2010

Source: Department of Home Affairs (http://www.dha.gov.za/)