Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers and hon members, we are honoured to present Budget Vote 4 for the 2014-15 financial year to this EPC today, in the year of the 20th anniversary of our freedom.
Home Affairs carries the responsibility of ensuring that all South Africans have an identity and status, and of maintaining a credible and secure national population register.
The past 20 years have seen our young democracy become fully part of the international community of nations, which has required the Department of Home Affairs to manage the entry and exit of persons to and from South Africa effectively. This carries with it immense development benefits for our country, but it also has serious risk implications that need to be mitigated. It is this evolution that informs our three departmental outcomes.
In pursuit of these objectives, the budget of the Department of Home Affairs has been set at R6,6 billion for this financial year. Departmental programmes will receive R4,9 billion, the Film and Publication Board will receive R79 million, the Independent Electoral Commission will receive R1,6 billion, and the Government Printing Works is now fully self-funding.
I have delegated the responsibility for front office improvement, asylum seeker management, and legal services to the Deputy Minister, on which she will elaborate later during her own speech.
One of our top priorities is to clean up the national population register, which continues, for historical reasons, to contain significant inaccuracies. One of the main methods to clean up the NPR has been the ongoing National Population Registration Campaign.
A key target of this has been to persuade all parents to register their children within 30 days of birth. This remains a daunting challenge in our country, where late registrations of birth, for historical reasons, remain a significant feature, resulting in significant breaches in and pollution of our NPR. During the past financial year 64% of all births were registered within 30 days, which constituted an improvement of 5% on the prior financial year. We have thus far inaugurated live birth registration in 391 hospitals and health facilities across the country, and intend enhancing our partnership with the Departments of Health and of Basic Education in support of birth registration.
I would like to make this important announcement. I intend ending all late registration of birth by 30 December 2015, after which all applications for late registration of birth will go through an appeal and adjudication process. Timely registration of birth must, and will soon be, the only way into the national population register.
This calls for a national effort, involving all patriotic South Africans keen to ensure we have a clean national population register. They are urged to get involved in the final mopping up stages of the late registration of birth campaign. In this regard, the 264 stakeholder forums that have been formed can play an important co-ordinating role.
One of the most tangible elements of our efforts to build a Home Affairs National Identity System is the smart ID card, which we began rolling out in 70 designated smart ID card offices countrywide in October 2013. Thus far over 300 000 cards have been issued, and an additional 70 offices will have smart ID card application capability by the end of this financial year, to support our roll-out target of 1,5 million cards. Chair, 30 of the 70 offices will be ready for smart ID card issue within 100 days. We are investigating ways to leverage partnerships with the Post Office and the banks in the smart card roll-out, the details of which we will announce when they are ready.
The dramatic improvements of recent years in the issuing of ID books and passports have also been sustained, with 92% of first-issue ID books issued within 54 days, and 96% of passports applied for through live capture being issued within 13 working days.
People aged 60 and above, as well 16-year-olds, are the only groups currently invited to replace their ID books with smart ID cards free of charge. When we reach the target of 140 smart ID card offices, we will then completely stop issuing green ID documents to 16-year-olds.
The smart ID card is also an example of technological innovation with advanced technology, including biometric data, which has ensured that it has not been breached in the 10 months it has been in circulation. The South African smart ID card was awarded the Regional ID Document of the Year Award 2013 at the Asian, Middle East and African Security Printing Conference.
This is a world-class South African-developed product which will have an enormous positive impact on our country and economy, with significant potential applications in financial services, governance, retail and ICT. Minister Zulu, the opportunity exists for local technology entrepreneurs and SMMEs to develop commercial solutions which take advantage of the card's functionality.
We must manage immigration securely and effectively, in a way which benefits our country and society, heeds our international obligations, and manages risks to national security.
Cabinet has assigned the Department of Home Affairs the leading responsibility in establishing the border management agency, BMA, which will be central to securing all land, air and maritime ports of entry, and support the efforts of the SA National Defence Force in addressing the threats posed to and the porousness of our borderline. We are currently undertaking a feasibility study to determine all the practicalities of a future BMA, the findings and proposals of which will guide the legislative process subsequently. All relevant government departments are being engaged in an intergovernmental consultative process through a project management office we have established. By the end of 2016 we hope to have the border management agency established.
We have upgraded infrastructure at 11 high-volume points of entry, including Beit Bridge and Maseru Bridge, and expanded the Enhanced Movement Control System to 13 additional points of entry. During the past year we facilitated the movement of 39 million travellers in and out of the Republic, demonstrating that our ability to manage the flow of people in and out of the country is becoming increasingly efficient and robust.
In this regard, we draw attention to the new immigration regulations which took effect on 26 May 2014, following amendments to the immigration legislation which had grown outdated in the context of new complex challenges.
As well as facilitating the streamlining of our permitting regime, improving the administration of our visa issuance, and regulating human movement into and out of South Africa, the new regulations enhance our security by addressing areas of weakness, risk and abuse.
Opportunistically, South Africa is being advised to drop or relax visa requirements in a world where they are required of South Africans when they are travelling abroad, and where security has become a matter of global concern. We reject with contempt any suggestion that these regulations are part of an Afrophobic agenda to keep Africans, or any nationality for that matter, out of South Africa. After all, South Africa cannot be separated from Africa. Hence, we cannot shut ourselves off from Africa, nor shut our eyes to the enormous risks that the new world possesses in abundance.
Our commitment to African unity and development is resolute, and our track record in this regard speaks for itself. We value the contribution of fellow Africans from across the continent living in South Africa. That is why we have continued to support the AU and SADC initiatives to free human movement.
However, this cannot happen haphazardly, unilaterally or to the exclusion of security concerns. Neither can it happen without standardising population registration and immigration legislation, and addressing development challenges everywhere. Risks to any country on our continent have a direct impact on our own country. After all, we have not unilaterally removed existing visa waiver agreements which we have with fellow African countries, and are keen to enter into more such agreements as we are satisfied that more African countries are conducting civic registration of their nationals.
At this point I wish to announce that we are in the final stages of deliberations about the Zimbabwean special dispensation, which will expire in December this year. I am mindful of the anxiety among the Zimbabwean nationals in possession of this special permit which was issued in 2010, but I shall announce my decision in August this year.
Future policy development will focus on, amongst other issues, a framework to deal better with economic migration. Many of those involved have tended to pose as asylum seekers. We are actively seeking a solution for how best to separate asylum seekers and refugees from economic migrants. In this regard, work is under way to introduce a nationwide discussion on a new international migration policy framework that will take into consideration current realities and future management perspectives. The Department of Home Affairs contributes to economic development in several ways, and our contribution as an enabler of tourism is irrefutable. Our identity documents help create the platform of trust and accountability which underpins our competitive and sophisticated financial system. Our ability to facilitate large numbers of international visitors' moving through ports of entry efficiently has enabled us to be positioned as a trusted host for major international events.
Our immigration management enables us to bring in workers and investors who contribute to our economic growth. Our staff have done well to eliminate visa and permit backlogs, and proactively assist businesses with immigration issues. The new immigration regulations will make it easier to source critical skills from overseas. Foreign nationals possessing critical skills can now apply for and be granted a critical skills work visa, even without a job, allowing them to enter the country and seek work for a period of up to 12 months.
For some time now, business stakeholders have been asking for families of workers to be considered as a unit, an international best practice which the new regulations now include.
These specific improvements, and our commitment to responsiveness to business needs in general, will make it easier for South Africa to attract the critical skills and investment our economy needs.
I am further proud to announce that the 11 Home Affairs visa facilitation centres throughout South Africa are now all operational. Results have shown that 4 000 applications were received in June alone, and the turnaround time for adjudication has already been reduced.
The Department of Home Affairs currently uses inefficient, outdated manual systems which hamper our ability to offer a speedy service to customers and are vulnerable to fraud and corruption. We have thus embarked on a modernisation programme to secure, integrate and automate all our systems and create a paperless data environment. Customers will benefit from greater efficiency, convenience and security.
Working together with the SA Revenue Service, we have successfully implemented the enhanced movement control system in 58 ports of entry, and automated the live capture for smart ID cards and passports in 70 offices nationwide.
We have upgraded infrastructure in physical offices and technology at the Government Printing Works and in all the offices with live capture and smart ID card capability. We have also conducted training and change management in all 70 offices for front and back office officials on new automated processes.
Key in the modernisation project is the development of the Home Affairs National Identification System, which will replace the current national population register and refugee systems; an Integrated Border Management Solution, which will include the Trusted Traveller Programme, and the e- visa and e-permit system; the data cleanup of key immigration and civics systems; and the further roll-out of live-capture smart ID cards to the remaining identified offices. We will further design dedicated smart ID card offices in each province rather than implement the smart ID card system in all offices.
I am convinced that the leadership demonstrated by each and every one of our employees is a critical ingredient to our success. Leadership development, therefore, will be a consistent theme over the next term, right into the future. It is critical that our staff be service-oriented, professional, competent, committed, ethical and incorruptible. High standards and accountability are no longer negotiable at Home Affairs.
Ongoing challenges include fighting corruption and the staff being overburdened due to understaffing amid resource constraints. Inconsistent customer service is also a great challenge.
We are committed to ensuring that our customers consistently experience excellent customer service. Our progress in developing a new cadre of Home Affairs official includes the establishment of a learning academy offering our officials high-quality, accredited courses, in partnership with universities.
Our commitment to youth employment is demonstrated through our internship and cadet programmes. These young colleagues have had a great impact already, having been immensely instrumental in the reduction of permit backlogs.
We have undergone a branding campaign to ensure all frontline staff wear an updated uniform and name tags to ensure they are easily identifiable, pleasant and approachable.
Other key priorities this year are the employment and development of women and people with disabilities, as well as talent enhancement initiatives.
In the past eight months the Government Printing Works has produced over 300 000 smart ID cards for the Department of Home Affairs. Since 2009 it has seen its revenue double to R757 million, with an envisaged twofold or threefold increase in revenue over the next 5 years.
The Government Printing Works is midway through a five-year R300 million capital programme to upgrade all printing machines to state-of-the-art technology, as well as a multiyear renovation and relocation project. Thus far the passport and smart ID card factory and the high security printing division are operational, with the passport, smart ID card and examination paper dispatch centre coming on stream in 2015.
Over the coming few years the Government Printing Works plans to complete its transition from a government component into a state-owned enterprise. By 2017 the Government Printing Works will have consolidated its position as the leading security printer in Africa, and one of the leaders in the field worldwide.
The Film and Publication Board has found innovative ways to discharge its mandate, particularly of protecting children from premature exposure to potentially harmful and explicit content. It now uses FPB Online, an online application system which enables them to release classification decisions in well under 24 hours.
To adapt to the growth of digital media, it is exploring online distribution agreements with major content distributors, enabling the companies to classify material on its behalf in accordance with its regulatory guidelines.
Furthermore, the Film and Publication Board also strategically engages internationally, and within SADC, on initiatives to prevent child pornography and child trafficking.
The FPB continues to work with the Department of Home Affairs, the SA Revenue Service and the SA Police Service, and recently conducted the destruction of more than 8 000 illegally distributed items of material in Komatipoort.
During the past 20 years we have, out of a painful past of discrimination, exclusion, neglect and indignity, toiled hard to forge a department committed and equal to the tasks of restoring dignity to all South Africans and playing a critical role in the socioeconomic development, as well as the security, of our nation. Over the next five years, and towards Vision 2030, with your support we can do even more to establish and maintain a secure Home Affairs National Identity System and facilitate the secure, efficient movement of people.
I have outlined the work that our department is doing to ensure that all South Africans can access their rights. The Deputy Minister will add to this.
I would like to close my remarks by requesting all South Africans to fulfil the responsibilities that come with these rights we have outlined.
On behalf of the Department of Home Affairs, and as part of this national effort, I ask the following five things of every citizen.
Firstly, prize South African citizenship. Citizenship is our precious birthright, and deserves our protection and respect. Participating in illegal schemes to extend citizenship to people who do not deserve it devalues our hard-won citizenship, undermining our national development, security and social cohesion. The Department of Home Affairs, in conjunction with the police and other security agencies, will continue to combat identity fraud and identity-related corruption, fighting fraudsters and colluders alike with the same tenacity.
Secondly, register the birth of all children before you leave the hospital, or within 30 days of their birth, in order to ensure that your child's identity and status are recognised and safeguarded, and to help us secure our national population register.
Thirdly, apply for your identity document at 16 years ... [Time expired.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members and the audience present in the gallery, the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs met with the department on 24 June 2014 for a briefing on its annual performance and the Budget for 2014-15.
The entities that report to the department were not engaged, although the department briefed us on the budgetary allocations for this financial year. We had this engagement because the committee has a mandate to exercise oversight over this department and its entities, namely the Independent Electoral Commission, the Film and Publication Board, and the Government Printing Works.
The deliberations continued on 24 June and 1 July 2014, when all questions raised were discussed and clarified. After that, a unanimous report of the committee was agreed to by consensus. I can say to this House that the report we tabled is an agreed product of all parties represented in our committee.
We are debating the Budget of the Department of Home Affairs, whose mandate can be categorised as having two parts, namely the mandate on civic services and the mandate on immigration services.
The civic services mandate charges the department to be the custodian, protector and verifier of the identity and status of citizens and permanent residents in South Africa. Our population register should reflect the true status of our citizens in this country.
We applaud the department on its achievements over the past years in the areas of shorter turnaround times on identity documents, travel documents and birth certificates. We would like to encourage similar efficiencies in other civic documents.
However, we want to raise the matter of improving security in regard to all our civic documents, inclusive of their production processes. Of course, we will also encourage further efforts to make these services accessible in deep rural areas, where we currently lack reach. Our clarion call is that all these should be balanced out with the security of our offices, processes and systems, of the state, and of our documents themselves. There is no compromise on this matter, hon Minister. The mandate on immigration services charges the department to control, regulate and facilitate immigration and the movement of persons through our ports of entry. The department also services foreign missions and determines the status of asylum seekers and refugees in accordance with international obligations.
The committee is satisfied that the department has realised that the work that they do has serious implications for the security of our country. This mandate places the obligation on the department to ensure that there is certainty regarding those who have sought asylum and those that are refugees. We expect the department to fulfil this mandate and secure our country.
We as a country cannot allow the strength of our security to be determined by noncitizens. It is the duty of the department to plug all loopholes that are exploited by noncitizens to acquire our documents illegally.
The new immigration regulations should be given time for implementation. During the transitional period glitches may be experienced here and there. South Africans must be sufficiently patient, as any change has never been pleasant to all. We are convinced that the department has a correct level of consciousness of these regulations and their intentions.
We appreciate the open door policy of the Minister regarding unintended consequences, if there are any. We as a committee will, of course, continue to engage with the department in order to be briefed on progress being made during the implementation of the new immigration regulations.
The entities I spoke about as reporting to this department fulfil crucial responsibilities in the work of the state. All of us know that the IEC continues to shine in organising and managing elections in the country. We have just completed the successful 2014 national and provincial general elections. We are keen to know how they perform in terms of their plans. Are there lessons that have been learned, and what steps will be taken going forward? We do not doubt the capacity and integrity of the commission in doing this work.
We also have the Government Printing Works, with whom we will engage, moving forward, in order to gain an appreciation of their plans for spending the resources allocated to them. We understand the reasons for cutting down on the target of ID smart cards for this financial year, in order to ensure the security of the systems first. However, we encourage the department to attend earnestly to the expansion of the system with the necessary speed. There is a high level of acceptance of this card in the country, and access should not be unduly delayed.
The role of the Film and Publication Board in evaluating the films to be screened within our borders speaks volumes. The work of managing pornography and adult shops brings morality to our society.
This department is on a transformation path to bring about a serious, radical shift away from the path of the past, which used to be plagued by a myriad of challenges, systemic inefficiencies and unlawful acts.
The freedom we attained has brought new challenges that require a transformed department in order to mitigate all risks emanating from both inside and outside the country. We are told that when this transformation is complete we will see a department with patriotic, disciplined, security- conscious, professional and humane officials. Then, we will see a department with modernised information technology systems for security and service delivery. We will also see a department with secure identity and immigration services, and a high capacity to secure critical systems. It will also be fully integrated into the justice, crime prevention and security cluster. These objectives will certainly put the department on the high road and make a serious contribution to social cohesion and the National Development Plan.
Chairperson, the department is allocated R6,2 billion for this financial year, inclusive of allocations to the related entities. The department has experienced a reduction of R371 million in relation to the 2013-14 Budget. We have therefore cautioned the department that critical services should be prioritised and not suffer from the budget cuts. This Budget provides for the following.
In Programme 1 we have the Corporate Services subprogramme, which should not be compromised at all. According to the annual report of 2012-13, this subprogramme underachieved in relation to its targets, and hence needs to perform better moving forward. This programme will ensure that we have professional cadres that will direct the work of this department, as resolved in the ANC's 53rd National Conference.
This Budget also provides for Programme 2. The significant reduction is seen here, and we would like the department to minimise, if not eliminate, the impact on critical work areas of this programme. We are informed that this reduction is counterbalanced by own generated fees earned from the issuing of certain documents. The department should ensure that the income generated is sustained in order for this programme not to suffer.
We as the ANC-led government have committed ourselves to cleaning up the national population register. The campaign in this regard, targeted at persuading parents to register the birth of their children within 30 days of their birth, is supported. The decentralisation of birth registrations to the majority of our health facilities seeks to put life into this campaign.
The National Development Plan requires accurate data for planning, and hence the use of secure, integrated and automated processes and systems will create a paperless data environment less prone to loss and unlawful acts.
Also in this programme is the funding of the Independent Electoral Commission for the work of the 2016 municipal elections. We call upon the commission to upgrade the security and processes, as people continue to sharpen their skills to undermine the commission's integrity.
Programme 3 is the programme wherein the facilitation of scarce and critical skills acquisition from outside the country is enhanced. The focus on economic development requires enabling immigration regulations that allow migration of these skills into our country.
The department should attend to a number of challenges which hamper the ability to function and deliver services. These challenges are, firstly, the negative public perceptions and the general Batho Pele principles. Then there are the photos in ID documents which are sometimes mixed up. These challenges are related to the records management system, which needs to be digitised to largely remove human error.
In his state of the nation address the President declared war on corruption. Tightening the processes and the document security is a non- negotiable requirement and obligation for this department. We therefore expect the department to deal with all unlawful activities in its efforts to make a contribution to a corruption-free administration. We believe that enhanced IT-based operations will go a long way towards achieving this goal. I also believe that we will contribute to the efficiency and fewer unlawful activities that the President promised our citizens.
As I move towards a conclusion, I want to point out that a radical shift in the manner in which we do our work is taking place. Let us restate what this entails: the immediate registration of the birth of our children, within 30 days; the reduction in the turnaround time for identity documents and passports; the tightening of immigration regulations to enhance the security of our services and the country; the attention to the posture of our frontline offices; the state-of-the-art new smart ID cards introduced; and the proposal to relocate the refugee reception offices to borderlines.
All these are a serious, radical shift, responding with efficiency, skills enhancement, security consciousness, dealing with our image problems, and the transformation of the department, as the fifth administration would like to be remembered. Together we are moving South Africa forward.
I therefore unapologetically declare here that the ANC supports Budget Vote 4 of Home Affairs. I thank you. [Applause.]
Firstly, before I call on the next speaker, may I just appeal to the members of the public in the gallery to ensure that in this House we uphold the decorum that befits it. Can you please not take pictures from the gallery there?
Secondly, to the speakers, there is no clock to alert you when your time expires. Therefore, the officer presiding here will alert you when you have one minute left. I apologise to those who have just spoken, before my taking this decision now. I hope that you all have the speakers' list. The other thing that I will do is to make sure that I remind you of how many minutes you have as you go to the podium. Thank you.
Hon Chair, we meet at a time just 20 years after the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, planted the first seeds of hope. In his first sentence to this Parliament, when he delivered the state of the nation address on 24 May 1994, he said:
The time will come when our nation will honour the memory of all the sons, the daughters, the mothers, the fathers, the youth and the children who, by their thoughts and deeds, gave us the right to assert with pride that we are South Africans, that we are Africans and that we are citizens of the world.
The responsibility to deliver on this right rests with this department. It is the work that this department does that proves that we are South African, that proves that we are African, and that proves that we are citizens of the world. The work of this department impacts on the lives of every single South African, and every foreigner that enters our country.
This is why all of us have a responsibility to make certain that this department delivers on its responsibilities in a manner that helps us change the lives of all South Africans and that breathes life into the hope and vision that Nelson Mandela had for us 20 years ago.
Lest I be accused of only criticising, let me say that we must recognise that since 1994 this department has made many positive advances. We can document the many millions of South Africans whose rights and dignity, previously denied by the apartheid government, have now been restored. The reduction in the time it takes to process and deliver passports is one example of the many successes of this department.
But we must continue to make advances in changing the lives of our people, and we have a long road yet to walk.
Millions of South Africans still walk our streets every day without the dignity of a decent job, and this department is not excluded from the responsibility of contributing to job creation.
Take, for example, the advice of the National Development Plan, where it promotes the migration of scarce skills into the country - a key contributor to the development of a competitive commercial and industrial environment. We all know that South Africa has a skills shortage. This is, without a doubt, a legacy of apartheid. It is imperative that we urgently address this problem in a positive manner.
But the new immigration regulations set us on a path to achieve the complete opposite. This is probably one of the worst pieces of legislation that I have come across in a very long time. Nothing that this department has done before will contribute more to job losses in our country than the new immigration regulations, and let me tell you why.
Hon Minister, if you are serious about building our skills base you will reduce the barriers of entry for scarce skills instead of fortifying them. If you are serious about increasing our skills base, then you will offer incentives to attract scarce-skilled people, such as offering fee-free visas. Instead, you've now added a further surcharge of R1 350, which VFS Global charges - this is a United Kingdom-based private company.
Then there are also huge backlogs in the issuing of permanent and temporary permits, and further requirements for permits only complicate this situation. Hon Minister, the solution is glaringly obvious. Open up our borders and lay down the red carpet for those who have the skills we require to build this country.
Instead, hon Minister, you are doing the complete opposite. The new regulations will undeniably make it even more difficult for skilled foreigners who apply legally to enter South Africa. In an environment where our borders are so porous and millions of illegal foreigners who are already in South Africa are slipping through the net because of a weak immigration inspectorate division, we will end up with a situation where skilled foreigners will look elsewhere for work, whilst unskilled illegal foreigners roam free in South Africa.
This approach only promotes a breeding ground for more xenophobic attacks in South Africa and does little to promote economic growth and job creation.
Let me give another reason why your regulations are a bad idea. In future, anyone travelling abroad with a minor will require an unabridged birth certificate. [Interjections.] Now, anyone who has recently applied for an unabridged birth certificate will tell you ... [Interjections.]
Order! Order, hon members!
... that the experience is a nightmare. In fact, it's probably easier and faster to get a divorce in our country. [Laughter.]
Although the department promises delivery in weeks, in many instances it takes months. The main reason why it takes so long is that someone up there in Pretoria has to manually verify the details of the parents before they can issue the certificate. [Interjections.] Now, just picture what a primitive system we have when someone up there is probably running between hundreds of boxes trying to find documents to prove a child's parenthood. We urgently need to digitise the system in order to ensure faster turnaround times. This impediment will, no doubt, impact on the number of children who will travel abroad with their parents and this, in turn, will impact on the revenue that is generated for the broader benefit of our country.
The International Air Transport Association estimated that inbound and outbound travel in South Africa was worth R24 billion last year. A quarter of this came from people travelling with children. This means that we place at risk a potential R5 billion in revenue because of the introduction of just this one new requirement.
Hon Minister, I completely understand your attempts to reduce child trafficking in our country. But please, sir, explain to this House why you introduced such a stringent requirement when you know that the Department of Home Affairs cannot deliver these documents in time for people to travel. It is more sensible to strengthen the department's ability to deliver on these certificates first, and then introduce a tighter control mechanism. Your approach, hon Minister, simply does not make sense. [Interjections.]
Now, let me give you another reason, hon Minister, why these regulations are going to destroy more jobs.
The introduction of VFS Global to facilitate the handling of all visa applications will now render the hundreds of private immigration companies completely redundant. All of these private practitioners employ thousands of South Africans who will now join their jobless counterparts on the streets. Explain, again, to the nation, hon Minister: Where do you expect these thousands of people to go when finding a job in our country is becoming nearly impossible?
Now, you announced very recently that already VFS Global had received about 4 000 applications. Do the maths - at R1 350, this company has made some R5 million in one month, and you've shut down all the private immigration companies so that one company can make R5 million and put all those people on the street. [Interjections.]
The tourism sector - another reason - employs about 600 000 people. The National Development Plan suggests that the sector has the potential to add a further 225 000 jobs by 2020 and that this sector can contribute about R500 billion to the economy. However, the new regulations are causing havoc for thousands of tourists wanting to travel to South Africa. Already Chinese and Indian travel agents are advising their clients to seriously consider other destinations in Africa. I have no doubt, hon Minister, that your regulations are going to have a huge impact on our tourism sector, and I am sure that this will lead to further job losses.
I can give the Minister another 20 reasons why these regulations are bad for our economy and bad for job creation. But let me now focus on why they are bad for the image of our country.
The value statement of the Department of Home Affairs includes its being committed to being people-centred, caring, professional and having integrity.
As a consequence of the new regulations, hundreds of foreigners who are forced to leave the country because the department does not have the capacity to grant them visa extensions in time, are now being marked as "undesirable", and they are banned from entering the country for another five years. Many of these foreigners have families and sometimes children who are South African citizens.
It simply does not make sense why you, hon Minister, are hell-bent on punishing innocent foreigners for something they have absolutely no control over. This is tantamount to punishing innocent people for the department's incapacity. These hurried regulations are now tearing innocent families apart.
Now, I understand, Minister, that people can have their undesirable status overturned and can submit appeals. I understand that. But it doesn't make sense, for example, to give an innocent person a criminal record and then ask him to appeal it to have it removed. That doesn't make sense. It also does not make sense to expect thousands of foreigners in the country to use only 11 newly established visa centres when previously this service was offered at scores of Department of Home Affairs offices countrywide.
Let me also tell you that if you want to apply for a visa through VFS Global in Johannesburg, the next available appointment is somewhere in the middle of August. This office can only accommodate a certain number of interviews in a day and the diaries are filling up very fast. Soon one will have to wait months for an interview and this will have a knock-on effect on the number of people who travel in and out of our country. This will also make us look like we are running some sort of Mickey Mouse operation, because we don't have the capacity to meet the demand. [Interjections.] Hon Chair, I want to tell this House the story of a Pakistani citizen who recently had to be interviewed by a Home Affairs official for a residency permit. The new regulations require that the husband and the wife are interviewed separately on the same day and at the same time to determine the authenticity of their relationship. Quite understandable. But this young man had to suffer the indignity of describing the type, the colour and the style of his wife's underwear that she wore to bed the night before the interview. [Interjections.] He also had to answer other similar questions that invaded his wife's right to privacy. This is not an isolated incident. I ask you, sir: Is this the caring, professional and people- centred service that we should be delivering? [Interjections.]
Now, what boggles my mind even more ...
One minute, hon member.
... is that you have implemented a set of regulations that will have far-reaching implications for many years to come without even conducting any form of economic or social impact study.
Hon Minister, I appeal to your sense of reason. Please withdraw these regulations and have them redrafted. I understand your good intentions behind the regulations and I am sure you will explain them in your response. But please, sir, the unintended consequences are that these regulations are tearing innocent families apart. They will destroy the creation of desperately needed jobs in our country, and they will kill our tourism sector. Even the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, agrees. So, maybe that will count for something. I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon House Chairperson, the EFF rises to respond to the Budget Vote speech of the hon Minister Gigaba. At the outset I should state that we are unhappy with the budget and herewith register our reasons why we shall not vote for this department's budget.
The Minister's predecessor, hon Pandor, on the occasion of her Budget Vote speech, had this to say last year, and I quote:
Since 1994 our ANC government has worked hard to ensure Home Affairs restores dignity to all, creates systems for a secure identity, and promotes international friendships.
Molefi Ntsoele of Lesotho, Dipotaneng, was eager to fly one day and indeed he did fly - in his coffin for burial in his home country. Stelega Gadlela of Dvokolwako in Swaziland never lived to care for his big African family.
I refer to these matters of the workers' struggle in Marikana because an ANC deployee ... [Interjections.] ... ruled that it is unparliamentary to attribute the massacre of the Marikana workers to the government of the ruling party, yet it is parliamentary to say that the ANC government has worked hard to promote international friendships.
We have referred to that opening statement of your predecessor in order to expose the hypocrisy and inconsistency of the ruling party in government - indicating left, but turning right, in the best interests of the white monopoly capital of the imperialists of London, and in cahoots with what the Minister in the Presidency, hon Radebe, calls the "black bourgeoisie". This department saved the shameful faces of the unremorseful leadership of the Independent Electoral Commission from public scrutiny by ensuring that it was not dragged screaming to the committee briefing. It is only ...
A point of order, Chairperson.
On what point of order is it, hon member?
Hon Chairperson, according to Rule 58(2):
At a sitting in the Chamber ... a member may only speak from the podium ...
... and it gives certain reasons. [Interjections.]
Hon member, maybe you arrived late; that issue has been addressed. Continue, hon member.
That is the inconsistency and hypocrisy of the ruling party.
Hon member, don't address the member. [Laughter.] [Interjections.]
It is not only Parliament that should invite an entity; the department and the IEC should have known better, that this Parliament is new and that Budget Vote scrutiny is preceded by the entities' appearance before the committee. It is so disrespectful - the conscience of the IEC never informed it that it was a courtesy to be part of this historical landmark Budget Vote with the EFF.
The massive irregularities, with the complicity of the IEC staff and leadership, and coupled with deliberate inefficiency despite excessive resources, did not escape the eagle eye of the EFF.
It took just a few insane individuals in well-respected countries to slam their society into civil strife of untold magnitude over elections, but in South Africa this could not be the EFF. Nevertheless, the nonchalant attitude of the presiding officers and their assistants, and the outright collusion and manipulation of records are well documented and known.
If only South Africa could order a forensic audit of the elections, they would understand the magnitude of corruption and fraud perpetrated by IEC officials in these elections, and the victors would not be proud of their victory. We were there, we saw it, and we have the evidence.
Hence they could not come before the committee on the budget briefing. Yet they want the R1,6 billion appropriated to them to be approved!
The Department of Home Affairs officials do not take Parliament seriously, in that they refused to spend even a few minutes taking on board what the new Parliament had to say on the evolution and implications of the widely criticised immigration rules. Despite a passionate plea for them to assist so as to defend the department in the attacks against the promulgation of these regulations, the leadership of the department demonstrated outright arrogance. They flatly refused and went back to Pretoria in a hurry, pretending that the brief was so intense and complicated that it needed a whole day or a week to brief members, as if members are wilfully illiterate.
In every department that you have headed, hon Gigaba, the relationships you have had with the Gupta family, and the television and news print media ... [Interjections] ... leave much to be desired. The EFF will not support a Budget Vote that will benefit the Gupta family in advertisement revenues, a family that unashamedly violated the sacred land of war, the Air Force Base Waterkloof.
In these circumstances, the EFF vehemently rejects the Budget Vote of Home Affairs anchored in the National Development Plan's 2030 Vision, a neoliberal and white monopoly capital policy not different from Gear. [Time expired.] Thank you.
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members and guests, let me begin by saying that the IFP supports this Budget Vote. [Applause.] This is a portfolio that remains very close to our hearts and the heart of our leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and as such we keep an extra keen eye on it, as well as on its various entities.
No department is without its challenges and it is in this regard that we wish to raise the following points of concern. The first point is that the department in its presentation to the portfolio committee in July produced a budget analysis which reflected substantial amounts as savings, which is, in fact, a sugar-coated way of saying that they underspent, and this by millions.
In the 2013-14 financial year we note the underspending equivalent to 2,7% less than the budget allocated, which is similar to the 2,6% underspending in the 2011-12 financial year. This equates to a consistent underspending of approximately 3%, which is above the 1% usually considered acceptable by Treasury.
The IFP is not at all surprised that the Treasury has just reduced the departmental budget, as money unspent only hinders our country's development. Money which is not spent and which is kept in a department is money which should have been given to other departments to further programmes that would have been programmes of quality for our country.
A qualified Auditor-General's report does not help either. We also note that this will in all likelihood hamper the department's plans for its new vision. The Minister, the Chairperson and all other members have spoken about this new vision, which is such a beautiful vision.
In regard to the R6,6 billion that has been allocated, the IFP notes that with this type of ongoing underspending we will definitely see a lot more underspending taking place. We would like to recommend that Treasury, through interaction with the department, review its template on spending patterns - on underspending, on overspending and on savings - so that it reflects the reality of the situation.
The second point is this. We have 72 ports of entry that are being managed. We would like to know if they are being managed well, because we seem to be having problems on some of the borders, as has been stated, and something has to be done. Such porosity through mismanagement must be addressed.
Departmental efficiency in the issuing of identity documents and passports still leaves a great deal to be desired. Just last week I had a gentleman come to my office. He had been waiting since October last year for the issue of his ID, which is now about nine months. This delay, which has been acknowledged by the department, has caused him serious distress in that, among other issues, he has been unable to register the birth of his last born child, born on 9 January 2014.
Another point is the issue of the VEC 4 forms. During our elections these VEC 4 forms caused a lot of voting fraud, and we will be interacting with the Minister in this regard.
On the issue of entities, the IFP is extremely worried because the committee did not interview or have any input from the entities, and that was deliberate. The committee did not listen to the opposition when it proposed that even if the entities did not come to be interviewed, they should write down what they were doing. This is unacceptable. Thank you.
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, right at the outset I must say that the NFP supports this budget. [Applause.] [Interjections.] Are you asking what's new? The reason why we support this budget ...
Order! Order, hon members!
We have a reason to support the budget, hon Minister, but having said that, I must say that you have a daunting task ahead of you. You will have to hit the ground running. Of course, the department has made great strides in trying to improve various aspects.
I note with a great deal of interest that your staff have indicated that there are challenges that have been besetting the department from as far back as 2004 and we hope that those issues will now be dealt with and that issues of corruption will be a thing of the past. I strongly believe that if there is a will to do that, it will be done.
We think that with the new centres that you are opening, hon Minister, you will definitely take the department forward in order to serve our people, because our people need services, they need jobs, and poverty must be alleviated. Therefore, we as the NFP believe that this department can do a lot to ensure that our people get the services that they need. Having said that, let me say that we know that there has been a reduction with regard to the civic affairs programme, which is not a welcome move at all. It is not welcome in the sense that the 400 offices that we have are not enough.
In the rural areas, for instance, there are no mobile units or offices. I think that the department will have to move in the direction of seeing to it that there are offices in the rural areas to ensure visibility.
Moreover, if you go to these offices - I don't say that it is all of them - you will find that there is a great deal of congestion. Our offices have to be user-friendly to senior citizens, and to the disabled as well.
You have said that you are going to train about 100 managers in leadership skills. That is not enough, if you take into consideration the fact that there is a lot that has to be done in the department. I think you have to do more. Any reduction in staff in the department and any vacancies that are not filled promptly will really jeopardise the department's success.
We know that the introduction of the border management agency will do something, but it is going to need a lot of technology, because it has to be monitored. And, of course, you will have to work with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans and other departments to ensure that there is security, because our borders are porous. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Chairperson, hon members and guests, the Minister was at the point where he was making some very important announcements to South African citizens and the general population when his time expired. So, with your permission, Chairperson, I would like to use some of my time to deal with some of those issues.
Firstly, the Minister called on people to register the births of their children within 30 days. Secondly, he calls on all South Africans to apply for their identity documents at the age of 16 years, and perhaps the particular case that the hon Nkomo referred to would not have happened had the gentleman in question applied for his identity document timeously.
Thirdly, he is calling upon us to safeguard our documents. This is very important to help combat identity theft and fraud, which can be a very painful experience if that happens to you. An alarming number of IDs are reissued every year due to loss or theft, and many of these documents subsequently lie unclaimed for years at Home Affairs offices, increasing identity theft and inviting fraud and corruption.
Finally, the Minister is also calling on everybody to take heed of the fact that they should register deaths in the family immediately, in order to prevent theft of the deceased's identity and insurance, and other types of corruption.
A very important part of his speech is that the Minister wishes to thank the Deputy Minister for her hard work and efficiency! [Laughter.] [Applause.] I thought that I must say that.
Chairperson, today as we greet and welcome our guests in the gallery, I wish to recognise two very special guests who vary in age across the spectrum. Firstly, Mrs Nora de Kock recently received her smart ID card at the tender age of 104 years. [Applause.] Mrs de Kock was so delighted that she agreed to come to Parliament today and grace this occasion.
Baie dankie, Ouma. Ons is baie bly om u hier hartlik te verwelkom en ons bid dat God u met baie meer gesonde jare sal sen. [Thank you, Grandmother. We are delighted and we extend a warm welcome to you here and we pray that God will bless you with many more healthy years.] [Applause.]
The second special guest is a Grade 11 learner from Mountview High School in Hanover Park. Young Tasneem de Jongh was the team leader of an international group of schools who participated in the Commonwealth Games Classroom Project. Where are you? Ah! There you are. [Applause.]
The various participating schools had to write essays about their school experience and Tasneem's group won. For her prize, Tasneem will be travelling to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, next week. We are very pleased to be able to facilitate an urgent passport for her.
We wish to congratulate her and her team who are here today. Where are the team? Please stand. [Applause.] Accompanying them is Mr Reginald Assure, as well as the Principal of Mountview High School, Mr Archie Benjamin. Well done, sir.
Thank you all for showing South Africa that in this country, this 20-year- old democracy, success is not dependent on who you are or where you come from. What you have shown us is the truism that real success is dependent on hard work and dedication. It is values like these that will make sure that we transform this nation into a winning nation. We will continue to work in our communities and support our people in moving South Africa forward.
The Department of Home Affairs has a key role to play in the safety and security of our country and its citizens, as the Minister has already said. My specific responsibilities, which are the management of refugees, legal services and the front office improvement project, are all linked to this particular outcome.
South Africa is part of a global society where the security and socioeconomic realities in one country impact on those of another. On the one hand we have an obligation in terms of our values as a nation to fulfil our constitutional and international obligation to protect persons who have a well-founded fear of persecution, or who are escaping life-threatening situations. To this end, we need to adjudicate asylum seekers efficiently, fairly and humanely, and integrate those persons accorded refugee status into our communities. On the other hand, we need to put a stop to the large- scale abuse of the asylum seeker system in South Africa, as this places genuine asylum seekers at a disadvantage and creates social and economic risks for the country.
The asylum database for 2013 gives a picture of a gradual decline in the overall number of registered asylum seekers in 2013. Despite this, the activity at the Marabastad Refugee Reception Office suggests the opposite. The report of the department into asylum seeker management comes to the conclusion that there are concurrently push factors in the countries of origin fuelled by pull factors in South Africa. This will continue to generate the high numbers of new arrivals on our shores.
One of our major challenges in this regard is that many people who seek asylum in South Africa are actually economic migrants who use the asylum seeker process to avoid applying for a visa under the Immigration Act.
The standard push factors include the unpredictability of the sociopolitical situation in SADC and the Eastern African regions and the continued impact of the world economic meltdown. The pull factors include South Africa's resilient economy, the high standard of living, the human rights culture, and the free health, education and other social benefits.
The asylum statistics report shows that, amongst others, these factors have contributed to a total number of 70 010 new arrivals' being registered in 2013. Just under 50% of the new asylum seekers are from the SADC region, with Zimbabwe being the largest asylum seeker-producing country, followed very closely by the DRC, Mozambique and Lesotho at approximately 3 500 each and Malawi at 2 500. Asylum seekers from West and East Africa constituted 32% of the overall number of applicants, and the rest are received from South and Central Asia.
Chair, 70% of the new arrivals in 2013 were registered by the Pretoria Refugee Reception Office, up from 59% in 2012. The Musina Refugee Reception Office accounted for 19% or 13 600-odd new applications, 3% more than in 2012. The Durban Refugee Reception Office handled 9% or 6 400 new applicants, up from 7%.
Our decision with regard to the Cape Town Office was initially successfully challenged in court, but the Supreme Court of Appeal reaffirmed the department's right to determine policy matters of this nature. We are then on track in regard to our policy to relocate refugee reception centres to the borders and not to locate them in the hinterland.
Gauteng remained the hub in 2013, with 71% of the registered new arrivals, and the other provinces received a combined 29%. This adds significantly to the urban influx challenges faced by that province, and the competition for scarce resources leads to other social and economic challenges.
A total of 68 000 registered asylum claims were adjudicated and finalised in the first instance at the refugee centres between January and December 2013. Of these claims, a total of 10,6% were approved and 30% were rejected as unfounded, with a further 52% rejected as manifestly unfounded, fraudulent and abusive. These figures indicate a potentially healthier situation than the one which had occurred prior to this, when a total of 95% of all asylum applications were found to be without merit.
These statistics are critical in informing our policy development for the future. They also indicate that we are making important strides in the neutralisation of the negative consequences of inefficiencies in our asylum seeker management. This coming financial year will have to see some major interventions, particularly at the Pretoria Refugee Reception Centre.
In terms of the National Development Plan objective to facilitate faster and more inclusive economic growth, we need refugee policies, legislation and processes which will address national priorities and reduce risks to the country. There are some positive signs, but much more still needs to be done in this area.
Legal Services are responsible for drafting legislation dealing with litigation, and assisting various units in the department with contracts. It is currently preparing a piece of draft legislation that will lead to the establishment of the border management agency, which will play a critical role in securing our ports of entry and borderlines. This is going to be one of our biggest initiatives this term, aimed at safeguarding our collective national interests.
For the last financial year the success rate of the Directorate: Litigation on average over the reporting period was 84%.
The Directorate: Contracts finalised 93,5% of the contracts received for scrutiny or drafting within one month, and 100% of these contracts were quality assured. For the next financial year the Directorate: Contracts has set itself the target of finalising 91% of the contracts received for scrutiny or drafting within one month of receipt.
This directorate has also played a major role in ensuring that contracts and work orders pertaining to the modernisation of the department were timeously concluded and quality assured, which ultimately led to, amongst others, the successful implementation of the smart ID card.
During the next financial year we will also endeavour to fill the vacant funded positions in the Chief Directorate: Legal Services.
In 2009 the Department of Home Affairs initiated a pilot project aimed at revitalising the look and feel of our front offices to make them more user- friendly, with clear signage to enable proper workflow and queue management. The project has been rolled out in a number of our offices in accordance with the available budget. The Minister has, as he has said, tasked me with improving the client experience at each of our front offices. After a comprehensive consultative process, the details of the front office improvement project will be finalised.
Chairperson and hon members, most, if not all, South Africans would agree that there has been steady improvement in the Department of Home Affairs over the years. We remain committed to further improving our operations to primarily ensure the security of our people and country.
Finally, let me extend, on behalf of both the Minister and myself, our thanks to the director-general and his team, the chief of staff in the Ministry, and all the officials in the Ministry. Let me also take this opportunity to thank our Minister, whose impeccable leadership and collegial approach are most exemplary. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers present, the Director-General of Home Affairs, officials and guests in the gallery, the birth of our nation in 1994 demonstrated the strength of centripetal and centrifugal forces in shaping the polity and developmental path of the nation.
While some, for fear of the unknown, hastily rushed out to unknown lands, abandoning the land that had imparted to them a bogus status of "baas" and "miesies" and catapulted them to an opulence those in their motherland can only dream of, torrents of others, in the hope of an imminent better life for all, rained into our beautiful country. Those who knew and trusted the ANC knew that a true democracy was on its way and those who understood our value of ubuntu knew that no home would be better than the one the ANC of South Africa was building. [Applause.]
In describing the humane spirit of South Africans, our father, O R Tambo, said to the United Nations in 1955:
That statement, which declares South Africa belongs to all who live in it, is a drastic concession on the part of the African people, but is a demonstration of the willingness of the African people to live in South Africa with everybody who wants to live there on the basis of absolute equality - no racism, no racial discrimination, no superior race, no inferior race. On that basis South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
[Applause.] You need to go through history to understand how this declaration has been abused by some because they prefer, and continue to prefer, only one part of the deal. Ubaba uTambo made it clear that the declaration is not unconditional, but is based on absolute equality.
The question is not whether people come from South Africa, or they come through our borders; it is why people come through our borders. Unfortunately, reality shows that not all who come through our borders have honourable intentions and bona fide motives.
Some come into our country to help us build our developmental state. To those we say: "This is our home - come, let us build a nation steeped in unity and plurality, and join us on our journey toward a national democratic society."
However, some, like a thief in the night, come with the purpose of harming our beautiful nation and country. To those we say: "The time has come to turn the tide. We never had criminals in mind when building constitutional supremacy. This land of our forefathers, as SA Native National Congress President Makgatho said, shall never become a hideout for criminals under our watch." Statistics demonstrate that more than 95% of those claiming asylum in South Africa are not genuine asylum seekers.
Kepha ngabantu nje abazozifunela amathuba emisebenzi. Kuyaziwa-ke ukuthi laba bahlobo bethu bavunyelwe ukuthi baziphilise ngenkathi besalinde izimpendulo zezicelo zabo. Abanye-ke baye bagcine sebezibonela amathuba okuthi, ukuze bamukeleke eNingizimu Afrika, bashade nabantu baseNingizimu Afrika; okuyimishado engekho emthethweni. Abanye baze bazifunele nezitifiketi zokuzalwa ezingekho emthethweni. Abanye baze babe nezingane nabantu baseNingizimu Afrika. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[They just came here to seek job opportunities. It is a known fact that they are allowed to find some means to earn a living while job hunting. Some end up getting married to South African citizens in order to obtain South African citizenship and these marriages are not even legal. Some fraudulently acquire fake birth certificates. Others even have children with South Africans.]
The above-mentioned challenges call for new measures. South Africa must take steps to be able to refuse asylum to asylum seekers who have transited through one or more safe countries. The United Nations convention on asylum seekers provides for the first safe country rule, which states that an asylum seeker should seek refuge in the first safe country that she or he reaches. In this regard, South Africa should exercise its right to refuse to grant refugee status to asylum seekers who have travelled through safe countries.
Njengoba sazi ukuthi abanye basuka emazweni akude, badlule wonke amanye amazwe aphephile, beze la eNingizimu Afrika ukuzocasha bathi basabela izimpilo zabo. Abanye sibabona ngezinsuku zamaholide sebehamba beyovakashela izihlobo zabo. Lokhu kusishiya nombuzo othi: Umuntu uvakasha kanjani uma ecashile, ebalekela ukubulawa ezweni lakhe? (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[We all know that some come from countries that are far away, having passed through all the other safe countries to come to South Africa claiming to fear for their lives. Some even visit their families during holidays and this makes us wonder how they could do that if they were genuine asylum seekers.]
It is crucial that systems be put in place to effectively and efficiently manage economic migrants. We should all not forget that there are strong historical flows of labour between certain Southern African countries and South Africa. Movement of people in and out of the country is inalienable to trade operations and economic development.
Immigration and border management continue to be critical to balancing security and development interests. The border management agency should thus be strengthened and the department should play a crucial role in its strategies and operations to ensure that only the appropriately documented find their way into the country.
The department should also strengthen its management of asylum seekers. There should be a strict adherence to international conventions and protocols.
The 53rd ANC National Conference in December 2012 deliberated on the state of Home Affairs as a key function of the state. The conference raised its concerns over the presence of undocumented migrants in the Republic, which poses both an economic and a security threat to the country.
It deliberated on the challenges relating to legislation regulating access to citizenship by foreign nationals. It also acknowledged the initiative of the department in embarking on modernisation and the development of a single national identity system which is based on biometrics. This will also be used in the Integrated Justice System to fight crime more effectively.
The conference clearly articulated the need to reconsider policy relating to centres for asylum seekers during consideration of their status.
Concurrently, the ANC recognised the perceptions that arise during this process and called for awareness programmes to combat xenophobia and educate society against narrow nationalism.
Home Affairs plays a decisive role as the backbone of the developmental state, and is central to enabling security and service provision. It plays a crucial role in enabling all South Africans to proudly claim their citizenship, their identity and their dignity.
A developmental state is unable to meet its essential goals without a detailed and secure identification system that incorporates both citizens and noncitizens who live, work or study within its borders. The identification system is crucial to a range of social, economic and cultural activities, and ensures that the state is empowered to organise itself, plan for the future and protect its citizens.
One of the pillars of the National Development Plan is the building of a capable developmental state that can play a decisive role both in development and in the reduction of poverty. It is therefore encouraging that the department has embarked on a large-scale modernisation programme that will enable the state to provide services effectively and securely. The same systems will produce reliable statistics for planning purposes.
The integrity of the national population register is at the heart of all this, ensuring that all people in South Africa feel safe and are safe. [Time expired.] The ANC supports the Budget. I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, the hon Mnisi started off her speech by referring to the "drastic concession" spoken of by O R Tambo, to the effect that "South Africa belongs to all who live in it". Do you really want us to take you seriously? Are you saying to the Khoi and the San people, who have first nation status, that South Africa belongs to them because of some drastic concession by the ANC? You can't be serious.
The Department of Home Affairs has come a long way and we are thankful that the department has made strides in certain respects. It is also important that the department is no longer a nonsecurity department but has become a security department.
The reason for that is the practical reality that South Africa has become a safe haven for crooks from around the world, and we know that. It's a tragedy that the ANC is only now suddenly waking up and wanting to take the necessary steps. While we welcome those steps and we definitely need them, what have we been doing over the last 20 years about protecting South Africa in that regard? We've had porous borders and people coming in from everywhere, making South Africa their safe haven. Do we really still need 72 points of entry in this country? Do we need 72 points of entry? I don't think that is really necessary.
Hon Minister, in the department's annual report you refer to the whole question of employment equity and the status of the people in the employment of the department. I know that the Constitution clearly states that "public administration must be broadly representative of the South African people" - "broadly representative". What does that mean exactly? I know that the ANC government has taken that provision in the Constitution of being "broadly representative" to mean absolute representation. But you have even gone beyond that.
In the Department of Home Affairs you refer to the different population groups as being African, coloured, Indian and white. I don't think that is correct. We are all African. If you want to do it correctly, then you should speak of black, coloured, Indian and white, because we are all Africans - regardless of what you have referred to, hon Mnisi.
If you look at that, you will find that those defined by the department as "African" are supposed, in terms of absolute representation, to be 79% of the people in the department. However, at the moment you have 86,58%. You have 7,58% too many what you call "Africans" and too few coloureds, Indians, whites and people with disabilities.
Now, we also know that there is a lack of capacity in the department in regard to critical areas such as the inspectorate and finances. I want to ask the Minister - and I'll check this in the next report when it comes - that he rectify his own approach in regard to absolute representation because it is currently skew and not correct.
Then, the fact of the matter is that we think it is vitally necessary that we have the new approach in regard to our integrated border management, and we will support that. However, there is one thing that the Minister must take very seriously, and here I have to support my colleague from the DA. What he said regarding the new visa regulations is absolutely correct. [Interjections.] What we need at this time is economic growth, and we should not scare people away with an unreasonable kind of approach in this regard. Thank you.
Chairperson, I want to start by saying that Cope is delighted with the Minister, who is adopting and implementing the slogan of Cope regarding a reliable, accountable and incorruptible government and department. [Interjections.]
The President and his executive profess to have at the top of their agenda the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. It does not help when we pass legislation and regulations that are counterproductive to meeting the triple challenge.
The new regulations relating to the visa immigration requirements, as introduced by the Minister, are a case in point. Reports are surfacing that it is having a negative impact on our tourism - one of the very few good stories that we have to tell. The new regulations have ripped families apart and chased potential investors away. Whilst there was clearly a need to beef up our immigration management, were the negative consequences considered and why were these amendments processed in such haste?
What are we going to do about this? Our government has a responsibility to be responsive. So, why do those affected by government have to challenge them in court? Just in the Western Cape there have been more than 1 000 cases. Why can't the Minister admit that the regulations were made in haste? We are not saying they are wrong, but I think they were drawn up too hastily.
Shockingly, recent reports allege that the Chairperson of the NCOP has hired undocumented foreign workers to work on her farm. So, we need to ask the Minister how he is going to deal with these allegations against his colleagues and party loyalists.
Minister, through you, Chairperson, the R140 for a new ID card is of grave concern to Cope. How many pensioners, grant recipients, unemployed, and homeless people can actually afford to pay R140 for a new ID card? Moreover, did the department actually issue 100 000 ID cards by the end of March, as they anticipated doing? Or did the question of affordability actually impact on their producing the 100 000, as the first two and a half months was set aside for the roll-out to pensioners?
Then, is the turnaround time now 30 days instead of 54 days to issue an ID document?
Importantly, why will a border management agency be established only in 2017, considering that both the combating of transnational crime and terrorism, and the fostering of trade and tourism, are priorities of the present? The Minister and the Deputy Minister can smile.
Cope is concerned about the continued challenges experienced by the department. Firstly, there is the nonintegration of the IT system. Taking into consideration the millions that have been spent over the last couple of years, we still do not have an integrated IT system. [Interjections.] There is a lack of capacity in the inspectorate and financial management.
I hope that the Deputy Minister is right and that it is not who you know and where you are from that count. That, I suppose, would mean that we will not have any more Gupta landings at air force bases.
In conclusion, Cope believes that we need to see a detailed plan with goals and timeframes for how the Ministry and the department intend to give effect to the vision set out in the National Development Plan. I thank you.
Chair, as the ACDP looks at this budget and considers its potential to get the job done, the impact of the new immigration laws is uppermost in our minds. While we are acutely aware that national security cannot be taken lightly, we are concerned that the new regulations are causing difficulties for businesses, individuals and families.
New requirements for in-person biometric data collection for tourist visas and unabridged birth certificates for travelling minors are viewed by many as disadvantaging South Africa in the intensely competitive global tourism trade. And this is expected to impact particularly on emerging, high-growth tourism from countries like China and India, as large tour groups visit South Africa in the winter months, providing important business in the off- season.
Now there is an upside, of course, regarding human trafficking. Club owners in South Africa, for example, were previously able to apply for visas on behalf of women they import for sexual exploitation under the guise of exotic dancing, and the ACDP calls on the department to increase vigilance in this regard. How effectively does this budget actually speak to the issue of trafficking - the need for relevant training and other critical aspects?
Meanwhile, airline representatives have warned that South Africa could lose an estimated 536 000 visitors or roughly R6,8 billion.
We have also been advised that there is insecurity around foreign adoptions, as families face the very real possibility of having to leave the country without their adopted children. This is disturbing in view of the great need in South Africa for suitable families to adopt orphans.
Possibly the most far-reaching impact will be felt, however, by more than a quarter of a million Zimbabweans who fled the political and economic crisis at home after disputed elections in 2008. The special permits they were granted expire later this year. According to the new laws, if they want to continue living in the country, they will have to return home to apply for extensions. Hon Minister, the ACDP is appealing to you to urgently consider giving Zimbabweans the right to work in South Africa as part of a temporary permit process.
Research shows that this would have many positive benefits for South Africa, including increasing the ability of Zimbabweans to productively contribute to the South African economy through their skills' being utilised in the formal labour market and through entrepreneurialism. It would also help efforts to combat corruption, protect labour standards, upskill the economy and fight crime.
This is not to mention the huge savings for the taxpayer if the overloaded and ineffective deportation system could be scrapped. Most of the 250 000 people are unlikely to be in a position to go back and options like rounding them up, sending them to Lindela Repatriation Centre, and then deporting them by air would be a very unfortunate and costly business.
Hon Minister, does this budget ensure capacity in the department to enable it to provide the documents it will require South African travellers to present? If not, the call for unabridged certificates is likely to drastically increase applications and create yet another backlog.
And, very quickly, let me ask about an adequate budget for security outside of Home Affairs offices. This is becoming even more critical as people, especially the elderly, are extremely vulnerable because they are being attacked by thugs in those places.
The ACDP assumes, hon Minister, that you are aware of many of these issues and that you, as much as any one of us, do not want to see unintended consequences. This is no easy task but it is urgent.
We will support this budget, which will require exemplary management if it is to get the job done. Thank you. [Applause.]
Good morning, hon Chairperson, hon Minister Mr Malusi Gigaba, hon Deputy Minister Ms Fatima Chohan, hon chairperson of the portfolio committee Mr Mashile, hon members of the portfolio committee, the Director-General and staff of the Department of Home Affairs, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen.
The ANC says that this efficient Department of Home Affairs is run by capable leaders, managers and staff. This part of the Budget goes to them, and we as the ANC are supporting the Budget Vote and proposing that it be agreed to. [Applause.] Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank the proudly South African people for tasking the first public representative of our continent, hon President Zuma, with continuing to take South Africa forward. In the last 20 years we have witnessed tremendous, tangible changes in the lives of South Africans. Yes, it is true that our country South Africa has done so much within a short space of time.
This is evident in the provision of smart cards, and we are really proud of this. However, this is not simple and easy, because we see that multitudes of people want to live in our home, this beautiful country called South Africa, and they even go to the extent of doing undesirable things, like stealing some of our home brothers' and sisters' identities. It can't be.
The Department of Home Affairs, through its former Ministers, hon Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is now the Chairperson of the African Union and who laid a strong foundation, and hon Naledi Pandor, who succeeded her, said that they could not allow these unscrupulous tendencies of people's doing as they wished in our home, South Africa, to continue. [Interjections.] We can see ...
Hon members, would you allow the speaker to continue without interruptions now?
We have 10 369 personnel servicing 52 million South Africans, as well as those who cross our borders. We applaud their sterling work. I am going to outline what the staff in this department do.
Firstly, 20% of the staff complement are responsible for administration. They are responsible for providing leadership, management and support services to the department.
Secondly, 48% of the staff complement are responsible for citizens' affairs. They secure efficient and accessible services for citizens and lawful residents.
Finally, 39% of the personnel are responsible for immigration affairs. Their responsibilities are to facilitate and regulate the movement of people through 72 ports of entry into the Republic of South Africa, to determine the status of asylum seekers, and to regulate related affairs. Presently there are 354, or 3%, funded vacant posts. The vacant posts emanate from natural attrition, and we believe that measures will be put in place to promote staff retention. The department does not employ contract workers, which needs to be applauded - they believe in employing personnel permanently.
I am of the view that Home Affairs personnel who are performing above the expected norm must be rewarded.
There are vacant posts for audit services, countercorruption, immigration services, the chief financial officer, provincial managers, and the chief internal audit executive. We have said that these posts must be filled with immediate effect.
I spoke about rewarding the best performing employees. I now want to congratulate the Springbok office in the Northern Cape, which won the "Most improved" category. This office is situated in a remote rural area of the Northern Cape and it serves mainly rural communities. I want to say, "Well done!" because these staff members ... [Applause.] ... are performing beyond the call of duty in servicing our communities. [Interjections.] In conclusion, I want to make a clarion call to our communities out there to partner with this home called Home Affairs, in order to make South Africa safe to live in.
Gaabo motho go thebe phatshwa. [Home is where the heart is.]
Action must be taken to stop unscrupulous tendencies, to educate, to inform and to stop corruption at all costs. Yesterday, when I was reading the Sowetan, I saw that the following was printed in bold: "Con woman on the prowl - immigrants made to buy fake permits". The question is: Why go and buy things on street corners and not go to the offices of Home Affairs? That is not an employee of Home Affairs.
I am calling on you who are seated up in the gallery: We must be patriotic and proudly South African. We are not going to allow short cuts, as some of our hon members are requesting. Please give our Minister the time to build this home called South Africa.
Minister, Deputy Minister and Director-General, don't give up now! We have come too far from where we started. [Applause.] Nobody told us that the road would be easy. We don't believe that God has brought us this far to leave us now. We are marching forward, taking South Africa forward. I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chair, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, director- general, chairpersons of the entities, and ladies and gentlemen, allow me to congratulate the Minister on his appointment to his new post. Sir, we are here to work with you to better South Africa.
As my colleague, the hon Hoosen, has dealt with the rest of the issues, I will focus only on the departmental entities, namely the Independent Electoral Commission, the Government Printing Works, and the Film and Publication Board.
Please allow me to congratulate the IEC chairperson, Adv Pansy Tlakula, the commissioners and the chief electoral officer for delivering credible, free and fair elections. We pride ourselves on your success; keep on doing a good job.
However, we are concerned about the continued negative publicity around the chairperson and her involvement in the tender debacle. The DA hopes this matter will be concluded timeously.
I am also compelled to emphasise the need to appoint credible employees to this body. This is with particular reference to the presiding officers, who are responsible for ensuring free and fair elections, arguably the single most important feature of participation in a democracy. While we applaud your performance in this respect, we feel there are some who do not know the difference between their party affiliation and the work they do for the IEC during elections, and that has the potential to derail democracy.
The Government Printing Works has been an example of a well-run state entity. It is efficient, effective and sustainable. It has a long history of manufacturing security printed matter such as passports, visas and related publishing, and providing production and dissemination services of the highest quality for government institutions. Today it ranks as one of the most progressive security printing specialists in Africa. It boasts a hi-tech production plant with world-leading equipment. However, we need to find a model that will help them retain and attract more qualified and experienced personnel to continue with the great work that the GPW has been doing.
The budget allocated to the smart ID card must be spent properly on the intended purpose. We also appeal that this project be delivered within the prescribed period and that it ensures that all South Africans are issued with a smart card ID. There has been some controversy surrounding the smart ID card project, however, as many do not understand its value and the important information regarding this project. It would therefore be useful to create greater awareness and understanding of the project among South Africans. This can be done through mobile awareness campaigns and advertisements such as pamphlets and posters in the various communities.
The Film and Publication Board needs to devise a plan to create strong branding and increase public awareness to ensure that every citizen understands its role and the kind of programmes the organisation offers. The FPB deals with the film, games and publication industries. Remarkable technological developments are noticeable in all three industries. The size and ability of the FPB needs to reflect these developments in order for it to better position itself to regulate this growing and technologically advanced industry efficiently.
The FPB needs to be protected as a vital institution in South Africa. As with the case of Brett Murray's painting, The Spear, the FPB's duties have at times been undermined by political interference, which has inhibited the institution's purpose. The FPB's role in South Africa is still vital in the quest to protect our children from unsuitable and potentially harmful contents in programming, and its purpose should be preserved and upheld.
Hon Minister, I want to assure you through the Chairperson that if the executive, the department and the portfolio committee all work together and play their part, we will deliver a successful service to the people of our country.
Let me just add this. I want to applaud the director-general and the deputy directors-general for their commitment to building a better quality service. This is probably the only department where the DG and the DDGs put their private cell phone numbers on their website for the benefit of the public. I thank you very much. [Applause.]
Chairperson, hon members, and esteemed ladies and gentlemen, I rise firstly to thank the Minister and his team for issuing us with smart cards. It is only smart people that can issue smart cards! [Applause.] You have made us proud as South Africans, and I say thank you for that. I am sure that I do this on behalf of many of us in the House, both in the ANC and in the opposition. [Interjections.]
The ANC in its 20 years in government has brought about many changes for the better, and it continues to deliver to improve the quality of life, particularly for the poor and marginalised.
In that process many lessons have been learnt in government, bringing in new ideas and concepts, and a new way of doing things. Among these has been the realisation that for better governance the government has to be in a partnership with different organs of civil society, which includes the private sector, and to develop an inclusive approach in planning as well as in implementation.
This has resulted in the National Development Plan, which is a product of a situational analysis by the National Planning Commission. This long-term plan was adopted in 2012 by all parties in Parliament, thereby becoming the blueprint of the nation, owned by the nation, owned by all.
We therefore expect every plan of government to be aligned to the National Development Plan. Let me implement my part, while you implement your part and we all implement our parts, and South Africa will be a great country. [Applause.]
This plan was intended to take us to 2030 and thus help to lift us out of a situation of poverty and inequality to where we have a more prosperous society that is more equitable and more inclusive.
This is a journey with a number of steps, like reducing unemployment; expanding and improving infrastructure; improving efficiency in the use of available resources; moving towards an inclusive planning approach; improving the quality of education, and here we see that the department has established an academy to make sure that the skills development in the department is raised and at the proper level, making the department more professional; building a more capable state; fighting and eliminating corruption; uniting the nation; and building a coherent society. We have started holding hands and moving forward as South Africans. Let us move on.
Coming back to the Department of Home Affairs, the following questions arise: Is the department laying a foundation for the National Development Plan and, if so, what steps has it taken? Does its Medium-Term Strategic Framework align with the National Development Plan and, if so, what are the relevant facts?
This is done to check whether the short to medium-term strategies of the department are aligned to the National Development Plan. That is our duty of oversight: to make sure that what government promises is what it does every day.
From what the department reports, its contribution to the National Development Plan was, among others, the inclusion of all citizens in democracy and development, something that was enabled by: providing them with identity documents and a security system that has helped the poor and reduced corruption; increasing its efficiency in issuing identity documents to the poor, especially in the rural areas; increasing its capability and efficiency in the management of immigration; a programme modernising IT for more efficiency and security; and promoting nation-building by providing the same services to all residents at over 400 service points.
Yes, 400 service points are quite a lot, but the ANC would be the first to say that these are not enough. It would also say that it should, together with public representatives, make sure that it does better, either through using mobile offices or through whatever other proposals there might be.
So, come up with proposals - do not demonise the programme. It is working so well, and working for South Africa. We consider these to be the building blocks for the bigger picture in our journey towards the National Development Plan: Vision 2030.
Similarly, the Medium-Term Strategic Framework focus on the feasibility of the border management agency is a matter of interest, as it looks forward to better capability in border management and control. This is a matter of concern, and we are happy that the department is taking responsibility. It is accountable for addressing this problem.
The improvements in the national identification system, backed by training and capacity building, give us hope that in future our identification documents based on biometric data will not fall easily into the hands of criminals and the corrupt. Here the fear, Mr Hoosen, is that if we do not do these things, the drug traffickers and the child traffickers will have a field day in South Africa. So, it is a measure that government is taking.
The Minister was the first to say that his door is open to those who have better alternatives. So, please, just go to the Minister and give him advice. Howling is not going to assist, sir, but if you go to the Minister and give him advice, perhaps that will be more effective. [Applause.] When we talk about being more efficient and effective, we are talking about methods that work - howling does not work.
As we go forward it is evident that the department has aligned many of its plans with the National Development Plan. In the past 20 years in government the governing party has learnt a lot of lessons. As the hon Mnisi has said, at its 53rd conference it adopted a number of positions after noting the following.
The presence of undocumented migrants poses an economic as well as a security threat to our beautiful country, South Africa.
There are many asylum seekers that do not qualify for refugee status or protection, and the question that has been asked is: What we are doing about it? The new immigration regulations are trying to address that situation.
Some weaknesses in cross-border management have been noted, and thus the border management agency has been formed.
There are challenges relating to legislation regulating access to citizens by foreign nationals - that is what the immigration regulations and legislation have been formulated for.
There is a need to balance the inward flow of low-skilled labour to curtail the negative impact it has on domestic employment. Here again, Mr Hoosen, we make a distinction between skills. There are scarce skills, and there are critical skills. There are skills that South Africans have. Where we have those skills, we say that people from other countries should not come here and walk into jobs that ought to be ours ... [Applause.] ... because we have those skills. We cannot allow a situation where the people of South Africa who are paying taxes are displaced by people coming from elsewhere.
But surely, where skills are critical, there is a list that can be updated every year, and there is a process to follow. Where there are scarce skills, there are processes and regulations to follow. Just familiarise yourself with them, and then this debate will give more light than heat. South Africa needs more light, going forward, than heat. We have had heated debates; we have had struggles; and now we need to move forward as a united nation. That is why we say we are building the nation and we should have a coherent society in South Africa.
Let me say that the department has largely responded to the above matters.
So, if we view the annual performance plan for 2013-14, it is evident that in responding to the above there has been the start of a significant shift to new ideas and concepts. These include the shift to modernisation in developing the national identification system, which requires an applicant for an identity document to present himself or herself personally to take a photo and use a fingerprint for identification, among others.
The positive identification of children is also necessary to prevent child trafficking. The Minister of Home Affairs is on record as saying that his door is open on this matter, so please engage with him. It is more constructive, because it builds a stronger South Africa.
Chairperson, we shall continue to closely monitor the priorities of the department, which have been stated as being: the effective management of immigration; the design of a secure national identification system; the modernisation of Home Affairs front offices; the improvement of service delivery and promotion of good governance and administration; the development of officials that are ethical, patriotic and professional - here we can actually see that the academy is trying to address that; and visible and firm action in the fight against corruption. Here we also invite the media houses to publish actions taken by government against corruption. There are many.
Thank you very much. The Department of Home Affairs is smart, and we move that the budget be adopted. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Hon Chair, the hon Gumede has called on hon members to advise the Minister on these regulations, and the Minister supports that. However, the Minister suggests that before he is advised, hon members should please read the regulations, so that the Minister is given advice that is not based on the media analysis of analysts who themselves have not read the regulations! [Laughter.] It will not help. [Applause.]
For example, one hon member spoke at length about the scarce skills permits. That does not exist any more - we now have a critical skills visa. We actually have one permit only, and that is the permanent residency permit. The member goes on and on about a whole number of things that he obviously has absolutely no idea about. [Laughter.] He says regulations will destroy tourism but he does not elaborate how. He has clearly read about this somewhere, but has not applied his own mind to it. [Interjections.]
The hon member says that the R1 300 is a barrier to entry and I find that preposterous. It is ludicrous to actually suggest that a skilled UK, US or German engineer could fail to afford E100 but can afford to pay from R4 000 up to R20 000 to an immigration practitioner. It is absolutely ludicrous! I cannot begin to understand the meaning of that. [Applause.]
There are many people who deliberately and maliciously overstay their time in South Africa, because they know that they can pay their way out if you say that the penalty is a fee. So what you have is an immigration regulation that serves the rich and punishes the poor, because the poor cannot afford to pay the penalty fee and the rich can. The rich deliberately overstay their time, don't renew their visas or permits, and know that if they are asked about it, they will just pull out their wallets and pay whatever fee they are charged. What happens to the poor who do not have the same amount of money?
We need to standardise the penalty to ensure that the penalty that applies to the poor African immigrant also applies to the rich European immigrant. [Applause.] That is what we need to do and that is what these regulations are trying to achieve.
We are also advised that the decision to give the programme for visa applications to a private sector company is apparently wrong because it will destroy jobs for immigration practitioners. The immigration practitioners are in business in so far as Home Affairs is inefficient. If you improve efficiency at Home Affairs, you then ruin their business. Therefore, in order to keep them in business, you must keep Home Affairs inefficient! [Laughter.] [Applause.] What type of logic is that? [Interjections.]
The ANC logic!
No! No! It is DA logic. It is your logic. Remember, it is you who are arguing for this. Now, nobody has said that immigration practitioners must close up shop. In actual fact, they continue to provide a service to people who seek applications.
We welcome the debate, and we welcome opinions of the hon Figlan very much. We will consider the views of the hon Mulder on the ports of entry. We are happy about the opinions raised by the different hon members.
However, we want to assure you that the debate on Home Affairs is not just about immigration regulations. It is about the totality of the work that the department does. Very few members have commented on that, because many of them have been given speaker's notes on the immigration regulations and have absolutely no interest in everything else we do. Thank you very much, hon Chair. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Hon members, there is only one timekeeper. I haven't asked for help thus far - please allow me to do my work diligently. Thank you.
Hon members are reminded that the EPC on Human Settlements will meet at 14:00 in the National Assembly Chamber. Thank you very much to all the people in the gallery and especially to the veterans. Thank you very much. Let this not be the first and last time you come here. There are more debates to take place. Thank you.