We will do better, says Home Affairs Minister

Pretoria – A sharp emphasis will continue to be placed on ridding the Department of Home Affairs of corruption.

Since assuming the reins at the department, Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize has reiterated her commitment to making sure that she runs a clean operation. The Minister on Tuesday echoed her pledge to redouble efforts to clearing the department of all forms of corruption and fraud.

“We will work hard to ensure that there is no fraud, bribery and corruption. This will create conditions for economic growth and creative solutions to social problems,” the Minister said.

She was speaking at a roundtable discussion on repositioning Home Affairs in Pretoria.

Minister Mkhize said Home Affairs has been on an improvement trajectory for the last 10 years. According to the Minister, much progress has been made on many levels -- from policy and legislation, to systems and establishing a more client-centred culture.

“This has gained public confidence and most citizens and other clients are happy with the basic routine services they receive, such as being issued a smart ID card or a passport.  The turnaround times for visas, and to an extent permits, has improved,” Minister Mkhize said.

The Minister, however, cited “out-of-date technology” and a shortage of supervisors and technicians as some of the ongoing challenges. She said older records are held in unsuitable warehouses or captured on defunct systems.

While fully digital systems have been installed in the department’s 179 offices, Minister Mkhize said queues were often too long because of network issues.

This, she said, is something they will work hard to change.

“I commit that we will do better and show you our plans. We hope to convince … the nation of the need to invest in a secure, modern Home Affairs that is staffed with professionals,” Minister Mkhize said.

Home Affairs of the future

Minister Mkhize said in future, she envisions a Home Affairs that can secure and maintain a digital platform, which is essential for the development of e-government and e-commerce.

“South Africa needs a nation and a State that are capable of surviving and thriving in the new world.”

On 1 March 2017, Cabinet approved the proposed measures set out in the Business Case to reposition the Department of Home Affairs to enable it to contribute to national security while protecting the citizens, systems and data.

The Department of Home Affairs initiated a Repositioning Programme that will align with its modernisation programme and other transformation initiatives.

The first step will be to release a Discussion Paper on Repositioning the Department of Home Affairs for public comment and discussion.

The inputs will inform the drafting of a White Paper that will provide the policy framework for drafting legislation that will define the mandate, role, status and obligations a Home Affairs of the future. – SAnews.gov.za