Comments sought on Home Affairs White Paper

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Department of Home Affairs is inviting interested parties to submit written comments to the White Paper on Home Affairs by 18 February 2019.

At a briefing on Sunday, Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele said the White Paper is part of efforts to build a modern, secure and professional Home Affairs.

The Minister said the White Paper seeks to find sustainable solutions to the challenges facing the department, including long queues, staff shortages, infrastructure, office space, connectivity and networks.

Cwele said, however, that the White Paper does not change the mandate of Home Affairs but for the first time, its full mandate is clearly set out.

“The first mandate is to manage the official identity and status of persons. The current National Population Register is being replaced by a secure and fully inclusive national identity system (NIS), which will reflect key data related to identity, civic and immigration status of all persons.

“In the digital age, the NIS will be the backbone of a more integrated modern State that provides citizens and other clients fast access to efficient services. It will thus be a powerful enabler of inclusive economic development and will drastically reduce fraud and other related crimes,” the Minister said.

The second mandate of the department is to manage international migration.

“The 2017 White Paper on International Migration has been incorporated into the policy framework, and aims to regulate international migration in national interest and in the interest of a better and safer world. Migration can be a powerful driver of domestic and regional development, but this requires a State that has efficient systems, professional staff and the capacity to enforce its immigration laws,” said Cwele.

The third mandate of Home Affairs is to manage asylum seekers and refugees.

“South Africa is committed to providing protection to persons who have a well-founded fear of persecution, as defined in the Refugees Act of 1998. This is a responsibility that should be shared with other countries, international bodies and domestic stakeholders,” Cwele said.

He said an implementation strategy and a broad road map are provided that show how significant benefits can be progressively realised after the launching of the comprehensive Repositioning Programme.

Over the next financial year, the strategic focus of the department will be on putting in place enabling conditions for the launch of a full-scale Repositioning Programme.

This will include a detailed design and costing of a modern and secure Home Affairs in consultation with all stakeholders and partners.

“The White Paper details the main implementation phases of the Repositioning Programme. The envisioned end-state is the replacement of the old legacy model and its replacement with a world-class government department that is properly resourced,” the Minister said.

After consideration of the comments, a final draft White Paper will be tabled to Cabinet for approval.

Once approved, the Minister said the White Paper will represent a solid policy platform that will define the mandate of the department and guide its legislation, strategy and operations.

The White Paper is available on the link -