THE BUDGETARY REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION REPORT (BRRR) OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HOME AFFAIRS ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS FOR THE 2011/12 FINANCIAL YEAR, DATED 31 OCTOBER 2012

 

1. INTRODUCTION

 

As specified by section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act (MBAP) of 2009, the National Assembly, through its Committees, must annually assess the performance of each national department with reference to the following:

 

·         The medium term estimates of expenditure of each national department, its strategic priorities and measurable objectives, as tabled in the National Assembly with the National budget;

·         Prevailing strategic plans;

·         The expenditure reports relating to such department published by the National Treasury in terms of section 32 reports of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA.);

·         The financial statements and annual report of such department;

·         The report of the Committee on Public Accounts relating to the department; and

·         Any other information requested by or presented to a House or Parliament.

 

A Committee must submit the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) annually to the National Assembly which assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of the department’s use and forward allocation of available resources and may include the recommendations on the use of resources in the medium term.

 

The Committee must submit the BRRR after the adoption of the budget and before the adoption of the reports on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) by the respective Houses in November of each year.

 

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs met with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on numerous occasions throughout 2011 and 2012 including on its strategic plan, budget and its annual report. The committee also conducted oversight trips to Home Affairs offices and border post operations. The Committee then considered its BRRR which was adopted by Members of the Committee on 31 October 2012.

1.1 The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs

 

On the basis of challenges encountered during oversight visits as well as issues raised by the President in the 2012 State of the Nation Address, the following key issues were put forward by the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs in its strategic Plan as priorities for the DHA:

 

•           Improving Border Crossings, Port Capacity and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as part of regional trade corridors.

•           Advocating for improved DHA infrastructure as part of initiatives of the Presidential Infrastructure Commission/Summit.

•           Improving National Security, fraud detection and prevention through online verification of identity such as fingerprints and more secure documentation.

•           Updating needed scarce foreign skills lists and speeding up visa provision in line with the required technical and engineering capacity needed for large infrastructure projects.

•           Job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth.

 

1.2 The Department

 

The mandate of the DHA is carried out within the broader mandate and programmes of Government.

 

1.2.1 The vision of the DHA Affairs is to contribute effectively to the development of a safe, secure South Africa where all people are proud of, and value their identity and citizenship.

 

1.2.2 The mission of the DHA is the efficient determination and safeguarding of the identity and status of citizens and regulation of migration to ensure security, promote and fulfil our international obligations.

 

Programme 1: Administration.

The purpose of this programme is to provide overall management of the Department and centralised support services.

 

Programme 2: Services to Citizens.

The purpose of the programme is to secure efficient and accessible services and documents for citizens and lawful residents.

 

Programme 3: Immigration Services.

The purpose of this service is to facilitate and regulate the secure movement of people into and out of the Republic of South Africa through ports of entry, determine the status of asylum seekers, and regulate refugee affairs.

 

Programme 4: Transfers to Agencies.

The purpose is to provide financial, administrative and strategic support to the Film and Publication Board (FPB), Government Printing Works (GPW) and Electoral Commission (EC).

2. THE DEPARTMENT’S STRATEGIC PRIORITIES AND MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES

2.1 Strategic Plans of the Department

 

National government has twelve outcomes and the DHA contributes to three of these outcomes, namely:

 

Outcome 3: All people in South Africa are and feel safe.

Outcome 5: A skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.

Outcome 12: An efficient, effective and development oriented public service and an empowered, fair and inclusive citizenship.

 

The main priority of the department is securing the identity of the citizens and status of South Africans by ensuring that the National Population Register (NPR) is secured and accurate. This is done by ensuring the only entry point is the registration of births within 30 days of delivery. Late Registration of Births is the major source of fraud. In this regard the DHA reported that 51% of new-born children were registered within 30 days in 2011/12, which was a 11.2% increase from the previous financial year. Ninety percent of the total number of births was registered within 12 months. Late registration of births declined by 41%.

 

The management of migration is still a major problem for the department. The department intends strengthening the policies and legislation governing the processing and management of asylum seekers and refugee and, the movement of migrant foreigners with critical skills. Although the Refugees and Immigration Bills were passed in 2011, the regulations governing the implementation of this legislation had not been finalised.

 

Access to the department was reported as a top priority and various strategies had been employed, such as procuring mobile offices, the use of 4x4 vehicles, opening of new offices, the use of Thusong Centres, and partnering with traditional authorities.

 

2.1.1 Smart Identity Card

 

Cabinet approved the smart card ID project on 25 July 2001. On 31 March 2005, the DHA received approval from Cabinet to start procuring smart card IDs. Cabinet had only requested the DHA to re-submit a proposal on the future of the smart card ID on 21 May 2005, taking into account risk factors. The project was put on hold by the then Minister of Home Affairs in June 2006 pending the new vision and design of the department and an inter-departmental investigation that was taking place. Procurement had been suspended pending completion of that exercise.

 

The Governance and Administration cluster, mandated the project as part of its programme of action. The managed roll-out of the smart ID card to the entire population was planned over 5 to 8 years commencing in 2009. The former president, Mr Thabo Mbeki announced in 2008 that a pilot project would be launched by the end of that year.

 

On 12 May 2008, the Director General had written to the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) requesting them to administer and run the smart ID card tender process on behalf of the Department. The tender was published on 15 May 2008. The closing date of the tender was set for 27 June 2008. On 30 May 2008 the SITA Chief Executive Officer, approached the Auditor-General (AG) with a request to audit the process until the tender was completed. This was a pro-active audit for the AG to be part of the tender process. The AG responded on 12 June 2008, informing SITA that they would need to discuss the scope and terms of reference of the audit.

 

On 27 November 2008, SITA updated the DHA on the tender process. The next day, the DHA wrote to SITA again concerning the delay in the tender process. On 12 December 2008, the Chairperson of the SITA Board responded to the DHA’s letter referring to a Board meeting where it had been decided to request an inquiry into the integrity of the tender process. The time-frame for this forensic investigation was set to end in January 2009.

 

On 18 February 2009, SITA wrote to indicate that the preliminary tender process had been completed. However the Recommendation Committee had not yet dispensed with discussions in order to forward a recommendation. They also summarised the hurdles experienced by the Recommendation Committee.

During February 2009, the DHA began looking at ways to mitigate the delays with the project. On 15 April 2009, the SITA Board informed the DHA that they had appointed forensic auditors to investigate the project and that progress was being made with this investigation. They, however, recommended that the DHA cancel the tender.

 

The then DG responded in a letter dated 5 May 2009, stating that the DHA would take a decision once the final forensic report had been received. The DG wrote to National Treasury on 19 August 2009 requesting their assistance with the tender. National Treasury had indicated that SITA had to continue with the process. However, they would need tender assistance to monitor compliance with the smart card ID management procedures. 

 

The DG then wrote to SITA to cancel the tender on 19 August 2009. The reason for the cancellation was that they had been allocated funds from National Treasury to start the pilot project. As they clearly had run out of funds, they would have had to re-motivate for an allocation of additional funds. The Department cancelled a R5-billion tender to replace the green identity books after it emerged that confidential information about the tender was leaked to the media from the SITA. Budget was allocated in 2012/13 to 14/15 specifically for the Smart ID card as well as the broader Who Am I Online project within which it falls.

 

As indicated in the reply by the Ministry, the Smart Card is also reliant on systems and infrastructure to be implemented by the Who Am I Online project, which was delayed for over a year due to a legal contention around the fulfilment of the tender conditions by the implementing party, Gijima Ast.  After repeated requests, the Department finally made the audit report available to the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs during 2012 indicating that indications of irregularities in the tender processes were still sub judice.

 

During the budget vote in 2012, the department promised to pilot 2000 Smart ID Card but reduced it to 1000 in later presentations. It has further been reported that the project has been piloted and that the roll out of the project will commence in 2013 rather than the strategic target of the end of 2012. The Smart ID card will replace the current identity document in order to improve security and delivery times.

2.2 Measurable Objectives of the Department for 2011/12 – 2013/14

 

Measurable Objectives identify very specific things that the Department intends doing or delivering in order to achieve its outcomes (measurable intention specified by means of outputs that enable the realisation thereof). Each of the three outcomes mentioned above have several measurable objectives mentioned below.

Outcome 1: Secure South African citizenship and identity.

Strategic Objectives

 

1.1:

 To ensure that registration at birth is the only entry point for South Africans to the NPR.

1.2:

To issue Identity Documents (IDs) to citizens turning 16 years of age and above.

1.3:

To ensure the registration and identification of all South African citizens, foreign residents, refugees and asylum seekers to enhance the integrity and security of identity.

Outcome 2: Immigration managed effectively and securely in the national interest including economic, social and cultural development.

2.1: 

To ensure a secure, responsive and flexible immigration regime in support of national security, priorities and interests.

2.2: 

To implement effective and efficient asylum seeker and refugee management strategies and systems.

2.3: 

To facilitate the efficient movement of bona fide travellers to support national interests and priorities, and to prevent and prohibit the movement of undesirable persons in the interest of national security.

2.4: 

To contribute towards realising a positive skills migration trend of around 50 000 migrants annually.

Outcome 3: A service that is secure, efficient, and accessible corruption free.

3.1: 

 

To transform the culture of the organization in support of securing identity, citizenship and international migration.

3.2:

To ensure ethical conduct and a zero tolerance approach to corruption.

3.3:

To obtain a clean audit report.

3.4:

To ensure secure, effective, efficient and accessible service delivery to clients.

 

 

 

3. ANALYSIS OF STRATEGIC AND OPERATIONAL PLANS OF THE DEPARTMENT

 

In line with more focused planning as well as alignment with the 12 National outcomes from April 2010, the President has also put in place specific performance targets for Ministers of government departments. The main outputs and targets in the performance agreement of the Minister of Home Affairs are:

 

·           Securing the identity and status of citizens and residents.

·           Implementing effective and efficient refugee management strategies and systems.

·           Ensuring access to and quality of service delivery with emphasis on the registration of every child birth within 30 days of delivery.

·           Issuing identity documents to every South African turning 16 years and older.

·           Improving the turnaround times for all services, improving queuing times and unit costs per service.

·           Facilitating the recruitment of 50 000 skilled migrants annually.

This has translated into a further reduction of strategic objectives from 16 in 2010/11 to only 11 in 2011/12. These strategic objectives in turn translate to only 24 outputs in 2011/12 compared to 28 in the 2010/11 Strategic Plan.

 

The relatively regular changes in the department’s targets, however, have made the tracking of performance over time challenging. In addition, despite the increase in clarity and reporting on targets, performance against the set targets in 2010/11 has not improved significantly since 2009/10; with only 23 of 47 (49%) targets set in 2010/11 reported as achieved. In 2011/12, the DHA Annual Report indicated that the department had failed to achieve a significant percentage of its performance targets. When adding the Administration programme where only 8 out of 16 targets were fully achieved; Citizen Services where only 4 out of 19 targets were achieved and; Immigration Services where only 1 out of 15 targets were fully achieved, the result is that 74% of all targets were not met (that is only 26 % or 13/50 were met). Although 24 targets (48%) are reported as partially achieved, the overall performance of the Department, particularly in the Immigration Programme is of significant concern.

 

The department has shown instances of over ambitious target setting. For example, the ‘Percentage of Permanent Residence Permits issued within 8 months was projected to be 70 per cent for 2011/12 and 75 per cent in 2012/13. It was indicated in the 2010/11 Annual Report, however, that the average delivery at that stage was eight months, whereas the target set in the previous year was six months. The percentage of temporary residence permits (work, business and corporate) issued within eight weeks was set at 70 per cent for 2011/12. However, the projected delivery time for both 2009/10 and 2010/11 that was stated in the previous year was supposed to be four weeks and three weeks for 2011/12. The target actually achieved in 2010/11 was in fact 16 weeks, four times longer than anticipated. Whilst more realistic target setting each year is admirable, the considerable decline and continued lack of achieving delivery time targets of these and other documents, is of concern.

4. ANALYSIS OF SECTION 32 EXPENDITURE REPORTS

 

In the 2010/11 financial year the DHA over-spent by 5.6 per cent (.i.e. R6.2 billion against an available budget of R5.8 billion), which amounted to an over-expenditure of R329 million. In 2009/10, the Department spent 98.7 per cent, and in 2011/12 spent 97.4 per cent of its allocation. The 2011/12 under-expenditure (.i.e. R5.648 billion against an available budget of R5.850 billion) resulted in the department incurring an under-expenditure of R202.3 million.

 

The department has consistently under-spent by the end of the third quarter, only to utilise a large part of its budget in the last quarter of the financial year.  The department has spent an average of 68.21 per cent of its budget at the end of the third quarter in the last three financial years, compared to an average of 100.3 per cent for the end of the fourth quarter. In 2010/11 for example, the department spent 64.3 per cent of its allocation at the end of the third quarter, and recorded over-expenditure at the end of the fourth quarter, with 105.6 per cent of the budget spent. Figure 8 illustrates that the department attributed the over-expenditure in 2010/11 to an increase of the budget for personnel and the payment of outstanding debts from previous financial years.  The department has indicated that unfilled vacancies were due to an inability to find the right calibre of candidates.

 

Third and Fourth Quarter Expenditure

5. ANALYSIS OF THE DEPARTMENT’S ANNUAL REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

5.1   Annual report 2011/12

5.1.1 Summary of the Auditor-General (AG) report

 

The AG’s report, in the annual reports of government departments and entities, speaks to the reliability of information contained in the report as well as, in recent years, achievement of performance targets. The AG’s audit opinion can be categorised in three general levels of importance: Audit Opinion; Matters of Emphasis and Additional/Other Matters. From 2006/7 the DHA made gradual improvements from a disclaimer to qualified opinions in 2008/9 and 2009/10. In 2011/12, the DHA relapsed back to a qualified audit after receiving its first unqualified report in a number of years in 2010/11.

 

The AG expressed his qualified opinion based specifically on contingent assets. A contingent asset is one in which the possibility of an economic benefit depends solely upon future events that can't be controlled by the entity. Due to the uncertainty of the future events, these assets are not placed on the balance sheet. However, they can be found in the financial statements.

 

The qualification relates to money received by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on behalf of the DHA at foreign missions. The contingent assets are the revenue collected by DIRCO for which complete, accurate and valid supporting documents and cash has not been received by DHA. Over and above the onus on DIRCO to provide such documentation, the fault with the DHA lies in misstatements of these contingent amounts due to inconsistent application of the department’s account policy. As such reported contingent assets of R219.8 million were overstated by R34 million in 2011/12. In 2010/11, the R56 million of contingent assets were understated by R113.1 million. The fact that these errors were not picked up in the 2010/11 annual report could have contributed to the seriousness of misstatements justifying a qualified opinion.

 

In addition to the basis for qualification, the DHA received three matters of emphasis (compared to two in 2010/11) as well as three additional matters (compared to two in 2010/11) and 36 issues with other Legal and Regulatory Requirements (compared to 16 in 2010/11).

 

The matter of emphasis relating to financial reporting framework deviations continues from last year but this year relates to the misstatements of foreign revenue stated above. The second matter relates to significant uncertainties relating to contingent assets and liabilities, particularly outstanding legal claims against the Department amounting to R1.2 billion for which the DHA has made no provisions. The third matter of emphasis was that the AG discovered mistakes on five amounts stated in the 2010/11 financial year, which had to be restated in the 2011/12 annual report. Four of these relate to the reason for qualification, i.e. revenue that was collected by DIRCO for DHA, and for which new policies on foreign revenue had to be introduced under the AGs guidance to prevent re-occurrence of contingency errors. The last correction falls under disclosure note 20 on commitments, which were re-evaluated for usefulness and to improve service delivery. The contract amounts were discovered to have been understated by R1.854 billion (The restated amount was R3.2 billion rather than R1.3 billion).

 

5.1.2. Irregular, Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure

 

In 2009/10 and 2010/11 the department had irregular expenditure of R321.6 and R24.5 million respectively. In 2010/11 fruitless and wasteful expenditure was R334.6 million. Material losses amounting to R26 million and R66.7 million were recorded in 2009/10 and 2010/11.

 

In 2011/12, the DHA continues to have an amount of R463 million of Irregular Expenditure from previous years that has not been condoned (R439 million from prior to 2010/11). However, significantly less new irregular expenditure of R5.7 million was recorded for 2011/12. The majority of this amount (R3.9 million) relates to contractors not being appointed according to the Construction Industry Development Board Act (No 38 of 2000). Additional amounts of R1.3 million relate to non-compliance with tender procedures, still under investigation.

 

Fruitless expenditure is also largely from previous years still not condoned: R334 million from 2010/11 but only R700 thousand from 2011/12. The amounts outstanding from previous years relate largely to the out of court settlement made with GijimaAst, reflected as payments made in vain in the 2010/11 annual report. Fruitless expenditure in 2011/12 related to interest of R700 000 having to be paid for late payments on leased IT equipment, which was being investigated.

 

5.1.3 Performance

 

The following achievements were noted by the DHA:

 

Administration

 

•            Interface capability for 3rd party verification for banks, Department of Human Settlements and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) was introduced.

•            The Department of Home Affairs was voted among the Employers of Choice, simultaneously being honoured with the Special Ministerial Award by the Ministry of Public Service and Administration, for “the innovative turnaround and modernization of service delivery”.

•            The Department introduced the first-ever South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) accredited Home Affairs course aimed at training and producing a well-rounded Home Affairs official capable of dealing with all aspects of the Department.

•             Enhancement of leadership capacity continued with a further three Leaders Forums taking place during the 2011/12 financial year. Capacity of leadership was further enhanced through the commencement of the Outbound Management Leadership Training Programme and other management programmes.

•            A Coaching Clinics Framework was developed and the Coaching Pro­gramme launched in March 2012.

•            Involvement of top management as “Champions” of specific provinces. Posters in every office show the cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses of top management with the statement “We serve with Humility. Talk to us.” Improvements were also made in the functioning and monitoring of enquiry and complaints channels.

 

Citizen Services

 

•            A total of 51% of new-born children were registered within 30 days which is an 11.2% increase from the previous financial year. Ninety percent of the total numbers of births were registered within 12 months. Late registration of births declined by 41%.

 

Immigration Services

 

•            The DHA played a key role in South Africa’s successful hosting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

•            Improvements were recorded within the Immigration environment through the approval of a new Permitting structure and implementation of the Permitting project resulting in enhanced security and the reduction of backlogs.

•            The Dispensation for Zimbabwean Project progressed well during the 2011/12 financial year. Total number of cases resolved stood at 203,364 on 31 March 2012.

•            The Refugees and Immigration Acts were amended to streamline and secure key processes and address gaps in the legislation.

•            A National Framework was developed for the implementation of the Cessation of Angolan Refugees in consultation with Angola and the UNHCR.

 

The levels of performance against pre-determined objectives stated in the department’s strategic plan are, however, a significant concern both in terms of not achieving targets and in terms of the reliability, accuracy and usefulness of information. In 2010/11 the AG only raised matters of measurability on the Immigration programme. As indicated before, the Administration programme had only eight out of 16 targets that were fully achieved; in Citizen Services only four out of 19 targets were achieved and; Immigration Services only one out of 15 targets were fully achieved. The result is that 74% of all targets were not met (that is only 26 % or 13/50 were met).

 

The poor performance of the department against its targets is partially explained by other concerns raised by the AG on the reliability, accuracy and usefulness of information. Performance information was audited to be unclear and ambiguous in 30% of all indicators and unverifiable in 26% of all indicators across programmes. This is due to unsuitable strategic planning and lack of controls to consistently collect performance information. In addition, 32% of the reported performance information was considered as invalid and 26% were not accurate. This is due to lack of proper records review processes.

 

5.1.4 Human Resources

 

Only 1.4% of jobs across salary bands were job evaluated (154 out of 10712) and yet the DHA indicated that 442 (4.9%) of employees salaries exceeded the grade determined by job evaluations.

 

The department reported 2003 new appointments in 2011/12 to add to the 9259 already in its employ in 2010/11. The department, however, also had 1193 terminations, the majority of which (73% or 871) were due to the expiration of contacts. This gives a total of 10069. The total given in many of the DHA calculations, however, on total number of staff is 9091. Of the staff employed in the DHA 52 (0.57%) were reported to be persons with disabilities. This is below the 2% target set nationally.

 

The DHA continues to improve on filling of vacant posts despite the Auditor General indicating that several posts were not advertised within six months or filled within 12 months of becoming vacant.

 

Year 2011/2012

Vacant posts

Filled posts

Vacant posts

% posts filled to date

Priority

1118

1073

45

95.97%

Natural attrition

300

143

157

47.66%

Total

1418

1216

202

85.75%

5.2 Issues raised by Members of the Committee on the Annual Report 2011/12

 

Administration

•            The department lacked internal controls on financial management and record keeping.

•            The revenue collected in the missions abroad did not have supporting documents and it led to the delay in finalizing the Annual Report of the department.

•            There was lack of compliance with national laws including the PFMA.

•            The department did not pay service providers within 30 days.

•            The filing of vacant funded posts were not advertised within six months after becoming vacant and were not filled within 12 months after becoming vacant.

•            The issues raised by the AG in the Annual Reports of 2010/11 and 2011/12 were similar but became a reason for qualification due to the extent or materiality of the concerns.

•            The formats of the Annual Reports of the DHA and the entities were different.

•            There was lack of training of staff on BAS and LOGIS needed in order for revenue collected in the provinces and missions to improve.

•            The Committee noted that the Who Am I Online Project had been settled with Gijima and that non-payment to Double Ring had been long outstanding due to bandwidth services not having been provided after provision of mobile offices.

•            Some of the staff of the DHA was conducting remunerative work with government departments outside of their job descriptions without authorization by the accounting officer.

•            Irregular and fruitless expenditure were still problematic although there was a decline compared with the previous financial years.

•            The employment of persons with disabilities was still at 0.57% instead of the 2% of the benchmark set by government.

Citizens Services

•            Targets set by the DHA were sometimes indicated in numbers and sometimes were in percentages.

•            The DHA had piloted the implementation of the Smart ID Card and would launch it in 2013.

•            The late registration of births was declining, showing that the majority of people were registering births within 30 days after delivery.

•            The dysfunctional mobile offices in the rural areas were a major concern. The satellite dish and IT technology were not functioning properly. As a result, mobile offices were used to collect applications from far flung rural areas. The department was augmenting the work of mobile offices in the rural areas by procuring 4x4 vehicles.

 

Immigration Services

•            Only one strategic target out of 15 was fully achieved in immigration objectives.

•            Late Registration of Births (LRB) was still a serious security risk since it was being used by foreigners to fraudulently gain entry to the National Population Register (NPR).

6. CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS OF COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

On 18 October 2011, the Committee on Public Accounts recommended that the DHA recovered the unauthorized expenditure of R97 286 000 incurred during the financial 2005/06 from the department’s future baseline budgets. This was reported in the 2011 BRR Report and since then the department did not appear before the Committee on Public Accounts.

7.   CONSIDERATION OF OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION

7.1 State of the Nation Address

 

The 2012 State of the Nation Address outlined the following key priorities that have an impact on the DHA (DHA):

 

•      Improving Border Crossings, Port Capacity and Information and Communication Technologies as part of regional trade corridors.

•      Advocating for improved DHA infrastructure as part of initiatives of the Presidential Infrastructure Commission/Summit.

•      Improving National Security, fraud detection and prevention through online verification of identity such as fingerprints.

•      Updating needed scarce foreign skills lists and speeding up visa provision in line with required technical and engineering capacity needed for large infrastructure projects.

•      Job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth.

Job creation and countering corruption were continued emphasis from previous years which remain important for the DHA. The increased emphasis on infrastructure development required more specific intervention from the DHA in terms of securing the foreign skills needed to implement the large projects mentioned by the President for 2012 and beyond. The improvement of regional and international trade across land and sea ports of entry will require additional capacity development, recruitment of staff and improving of office/ residential accommodation infrastructure.

7.2 Oversight findings

 

The following points were observed during an oversight trip conducted by the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs to Kwazulu Natal and a study tour to the Russian Federation:

 

7.2.1. Oversight visit to DHA in Kwa-Zulu Natal

 

The Portfolio Committee visited the KwaZulu-Natal Province in June 2012 and observed the following:

 

•      The department has good partnerships with the EThekwini Metro and UMgungundlovu District Municipality.

•      Six of the seven mobile offices were not functioning as fully fledged offices because the satellite dishes were not working. These six mobile offices were used to collect applications.

•      There was a high number of Late Registration of Births.

•      Uncollected identity documents and duplicate cases were still a problem in the province.

•      The processing of applications at Head Office was delaying in the processing of permit applications.

•      The province had 50 cases of corruption. These cases related to alleged fraudulent registration of births, marriages, deaths and theft.

 

The following specific sites were visited for which areas of concern are listed below:

 

Golela Border Post:

•      Shortage of staff.

•      Passport scanners were not always working.

•      Shortage of vehicles.

•      No administrative staff or inspectorate.

•      No facilities for clearance of trains at the station.

•      Corruption a major challenge.

 

The Onverwacht border:

•      No proper accommodation.

•     Lack of staff. Only one Immigration Officer to process travellers coming to South Africa and   departing to Swaziland.

•      No vehicles means the office is reliant on Golela for the use of their vehicle.

 

Kosi Bay Border Post:

•      Shortage of staff, residential and office accommodation.

•      No vehicles.

•            No inspectorate.

•      The border line cuts the Tembe tribe in two, the Chief is in South Africa and the Induna is in Mozambique.

•      Informal crossing at Gate six where there are market days on the Mozambican side and trade in contrabands goods.

 

Durban Refugee Reception Office:     

•      The office was operating at only 48% of capacity.

•      Staff needed to be given computer skills training.

•      The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had stopped issuing travel documents for refugees. The issuing of travel documents by the office was very slow. There were academics and students who wanted to travel abroad but they could not travel because very few travel documents were issued by the DHA. There were many queries from frustrated clients with regards to travel documents.

•      The security systems were non-functional. It was reported that cameras and bag scanners were not working and the office only had five security guards on the premises.

•      The asylum seekers on appeal were reaching their 12th extension on the National Immigration Information System (NIIS) and the system did not allow further extensions and if further extension were required, a request would have to be submitted to Head Office. Most of the resources in the office were used for extensions.

•      There was a backlog of 3000 Manifestly Unfounded decisions to be reviewed by Standing Committee on Refugee Affairs (SCRA) dating back to 2010.

•      There was very limited office space and there was no space for eight funded positions. The lease for office accommodation expired in September 2012.

•      Refugee Identity Documents (ID) were taking more than three months to be issued and the office had not received new Refugee ID applications from October 2010 until shortly before the visit by the Portfolio Committee.

•      The Magistrate Courts were not confirming the detention of failed asylum seekers. Failed asylum seekers were released by the courts because it was unconstitutional to detain a person for more than 48 hours.

•      There was inadequate Administrative staff, particularly in Registry, which was the engine room of the Office. There was one person in Registry.

•      The DHA had contracted a company called the Refugee Ministry Centre to provide interpretation services and the services were very poor. Interpreters were not qualified and sometimes they did not accurately interpret what the applicant was saying.

 

Durban Harbour:

•      Shortage of staff – There were only six immigration officers at the port while the South African Police Service had 1200 police officers and the South African Revenue Services had 112 staff members.

•      Lack of office accommodation – Immigration Officers had one office at the Customs Building and another one at the Bay Head area. There was a need for additional office space as more Immigration Officers were employed.

 

Bhambanana Service Point:

•      There was a shortage of staff because the office dealt with large numbers of clients.

•      The office did not have a single vehicle.

•      The area was closer to Swaziland and there was thus a need for an inspectorate to be placed around Jozini and Umhlabuyalingana.

 

Mtubatuba District Office:

•      Late Registration of Births was increasing and duplicate cases were a major problem.

 

UThungulu Regional Office:

•      Fraudulent Births - People who wanted to access social grants would buy immunization cards in order to register births.

•      Late Registration of Births - Due to the shortage of Immigration Officers, it was reported that cases took long to be resolved. Most cases were from Mozambique and Swaziland. South Africans were paid by foreigners to be their informants.

•      The school project was a problem when pupils were writing examinations. Principals did not allow the DHA to disturb students. Some schools did not have telephones and faxes. The Department would contact school principals on their cell phones and on many occasions they would forget to inform students about appointments with the department.

•      Vacant and funded posts took time to be advertised.

•      Permits processed by the Head Office were issued with incorrect information and therefore delayed the clients.

•      Deposit books were not returned to the office daily after the banking had been done. G4 Security was responsible for collecting and banking the money.

•      There were uncollected IDs for over 16 months still filed at the office. People did not come to fetch their IDs.

•      The Richards Bay Harbour did not have an Immigration Service and the Inspectorate was utilized for that purpose.

 

EThekwini District Office:

•      The office had a good relationship with the Metro. The Metro had provided 18 interns to work with the DHA. The Metro provided the interns with transport and stationery and paid their stipends.

•      The public hospitals were connected to register births and the department was busy ensuring that the private hospitals were also connected as well.

 

 

Addington Hospital:

•      It was difficult to register births since some babies had not been named. Mothers would wait until the father or a family member had named the baby.

•      Mothers sometimes did not carry their IDs when going to the hospital, and were thus unable to register their babies.

•      The office was not open for 24 hours during weekends and public holidays; the registration of birth was not done when the office was closed.

•      The office was far from the maternity ward.

 

7.2.1. Study Tour of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs to the Russian Federation

 

The study tour to Russia from 16 – 26 March 2012 consisted of an eight member multi-party delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs. The purpose of the study tour was to inform members on possible best practices concerning immigration policy; including but limited to: managing migration, foreign skills and refugees. The delegation had fruitful discussions with the State Duma, the Federation Council and the Russian Federal Migration Service. The multi-party delegation consisted of eight Members of the Portfolio Committee.

 

During the trip, the delegation interacted with:

 

•                 His Excellency (HE) M Mpahlwa, the South African Ambassador to the Russian Federation;

•                 Hon. VV Lityushkin, Member of the Federation Council Committee for Federal Structure, Regional Policies, Local Self-Government and North Affairs;

•                 Hon. A Vorobyov, Deputy Chairperson of the State Duma;

•                 Hon. V Nikolayevich, Chairperson of the State Duma Committee for Constitutional Legislation and State Construction;

•                 Hon. AE Khinshtein, Deputy Chairperson of the State Duma Committee for Security and Countering Corruption;

•                 Mr. K Olegovich, Director of the Federal Migration Service;

•                 Immigration experts employed by the Federal Migration Service.

 

Objectives

 

The objectives of the study tour to the Russian Federation were to:

•                 Learn how best to integrate and attract highly skilled professionals into our country.

•                 Focus on immigration policy, particularly concerning asylum-seekers and border management.

•                 Learn how Russia manages the in and outflow of migrants.    

•                 Broaden the global perspective and insight of the legislators through conduct of an international study tour in a country which shares many of the same challenges and demographics as South Africa.

 

Conclusions and observations

 

Based on the interaction between the delegation and the Russian authorities the following conclusions and observations were made which South Africa can learn from for its migration policy:

 

•                 The Russian Federation keeps track of refugees by recording their biometric features. This immigration system enables government to have all the necessary details about foreign citizens like, age, gender and criminal records and level of education. This allows for better planning and utilisation of migrant skills.

•                 The Russian government has developed mechanisms to enable migrants to integrate into the society, to learn the Russian language and to respect the local culture and traditions. The migrants should know and follow the laws of the Russian Federation and this is ensured by creating special guidebooks for migrants.

•                 All immigrants have to undergo a health examination in order to qualify for permits.

•                 It is easier for refugees to obtain Russian citizenship than many other countries. A year after their refugee status had been recognised, foreign nationals and stateless people may apply for Russian citizenship.

•                 Foreigners who open small shops in Russia have to ensure that the person who works in the shop is a Russian citizen. A foreign owner cannot work at the shop.

•                 The Russian Federation has developed an asylum-seekers policy which includes:

–  Temporary accommodation centres for asylum-seekers.

–  Being able to apply for refugee status while outside the Russian Federation, at the port of entry or in Russia.

–  Automatic provision of travel document to be able to travel outside the country.

•                 The Federal Migration Service has regional branches which are empowered to make decisions on asylum applications. They cooperate with the Border Guard of the Federal Service including training of staff on issues relating to asylum processes and procedures at the border.

•                 There is a strong collaboration between the Federal Migration Service and various migrant communities including religious organisations to prevent conflict among citizens from occurring. There is also an established cooperation between the different national ministries, departments and NGOs on migration issues.

 

South Africa and Russia share remarkable similarities in historical and migration challenges. South Africa in considering a more risk and state security conscious model for migration into the country and thus has to learn from its international counterparts of the best ways to balance this with the equal if not greater imperative for economic development and regional integration.

 

7.3 Budget Vote Report

 

7.3.1 Budget Analysis

 

The DHA received a total allocation of R5,3 billion in 2012/13. This was a 9.5% decrease in nominal terms from its 2011/12 budget. This was compared to a decrease of 6.35 per cent in nominal terms in 2010/11 and an 8.6 per cent increase in nominal terms in the 2010/11 financial year. When these nominal decreases were considered against the 5.9% projected inflation for the year, the overall cuts to the budget of the DHA of 9.5% (-R554 million) were closer to 15.4%.


 

In general government expenditure had increased by 8.8% and the cut in DHA budget within the general public services budget group reflects increased payment of state debt. In government as a whole the emphasis on increased allocation was in favour of social services like education and housing. (All changes in allocation shown were in nominal terms and changes needed to be qualified by the projected inflation rate of 5.9%).

 

As a result of the reduced budget allocation; all programmes within the DHA had a cut in expenditure in 2012/13. The biggest reduction was for the Administration programme, which was 11.8% or R223.8 million less than in 2011/12 in nominal terms, largely due to a large once off capital investment for Transversal Information Technology last year.

 

Programme

Budget

Nominal Rand change

Real Rand change

Nominal % change

Real % change

R million

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

 2011/12-2012/13

 2011/12-2012/13

1: Administration

 1 897.2

 1 674.1

 1 766.8

 1 933.6

-  223.1

-  316.4

-11.76

-16.68

2: Citizen Affairs

 3 374.2

 3 067.9

 3 894.6

 3 975.1

-  306.3

-  477.2

-9.08

-14.14

3:  Immigration Affairs

  578.5

  554.3

  596.5

  627.9

-  24.2

-  55.1

-4.18

-9.52

 

Citizen Affairs declined by 9% or R306.3 million from 2011/12 mostly due to an 80% decrease in the Status Services sub-programme. This was a 14% decline in real terms.

 

Immigration services received 4.2% less in 2012/13. This R24.2 million reduction was mostly due to a halving of allocation to the Immigration Affairs Management sub-programme.

 

The only notable increases were under the Administration programme for corporate services (+11.24% or R56 mil) and Office Accommodation (+5.5% or R17 mil). Under the citizen services programme services delivery to provinces received a R105 million increase (6.8%). The majority of sub-programmes within DHA however, received smaller allocations in 2012/13 than in 2011/12.

 

Two of the three entities under DHA; the Government Printing Works (GPW) and Film and Publications Board (FPB) received an increase. This was 6% (R3.9 mil) more for the FPB and 4.8% (R6.2 mil) more for GPW. The decline in the Electoral Commission’s budget was due to it being a non-election year.

 

7.3.2 Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure

 

Due to the late submission of the Annual report and BRRR, the Committee will also consider the adjusted estimates of national Expenditure tabled by National Treasury.

 

The DHA received a main appropriation of R5.296 billion, which had been adjusted downwards by R52.4 million to R5.2 billion during the adjustment budget process. The Department did not apply for any roll-overs during the adjustment budget process. However, there were virements and shifts, declared savings as well as other adjustments.

 

The table below illustrates the changes in the allocation to different programmes of the DHA.

 

Programme

R’000

Main appropriation

Unforeseeable/unavoidable

Virements/

Shifts

Declared

Savings

Other Adjustments

Total adjustments

Administration

1 674 107

-

( 5 508)

(100 000)

 3 923

1 572 522

Citizen Affairs

3 067 809

 

 

 

26 353

3 094 162

Immigration Affairs

 554 353

15 000

5 508

-

2 343

  577 204

Total

5 296 269

15 000

-

(100 000)

32 619

5 243 888

 

Unforeseeable and unavoidable expenditure

 

The DHA will receive an additional R15 million for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations under the Immigration Affairs programme. This allocation will be spent under sub-programme 2: Admission Services. Of the R15 million allocation; R5.3 million will be for the strengthening of law enforcement capacity to manage illegal immigrants and to ensure a swift response to emergencies; R2.2 million will be for the 24-hour operational centre providing support to airlines, foreign missions, ports of entry, spectators and Confederation of African Football (CAF) members; R7.4 million  will be for the facilitation of CAF staff and spectators through the creation of dedicated lanes at airports and key land ports of entry.

 

Virements and shifts

 

In terms of virements and shifts, the following was observed:

 

Programme 1: Administration

 

·         An amount of R5.5 million was defrayed from the goods and services budget under Programme 1: Administration to the capital payments budget of Programme 3: Immigration Affairs. The funds will be reprioritised for Information Technology (IT) related contracts for the National Immigration Information Systems due to the foreign exchange rate deterioration.

·          R12 million had been shifted from goods and services in the Administration programme and reallocated to the capital payments budget for the purchase of software and other intangible assets related to the Information Systems Modernisation Project.

·          R4.75 million had been shifted from the goods and services budget in the Administration programme and reallocated to the capital payments budget for the purchase of machinery and equipment related to the Information Systems Modernisation Project.

 

Other adjustments

 

The DHA had received an additional R32.6 million for higher personnel remuneration increases. This amount was allocated between the three programmes as follows:

 

·         Programme 1: Administration, R3.9 million for compensation of employees.

·         Programme 2: Citizens Affairs, R19.96 million for compensation of employees and R6.39 million. for transfers and subsidies to departmental agencies and accounts.

·         Programme 3: Immigration Affairs, R2.34 million for compensation of employees.

 

Preliminary expenditure at 30 September 2012

 

The DHA has spent an amount of R2.46 billion; this reflected 42.1 per cent of the main appropriation and 47.0 per cent of the adjusted appropriation.

 

This was lower than mid-year expenditure in 2011/12, by which time the Department had spent 48.7 per cent of the adjusted appropriation. The reason for the expenditure decrease compared to 2011/12 was due to a reduction in the number of passports printed, as well as a decrease in the payment made in the Information Systems Modernisation projects and in transfer payments to public entities.

 

 

Mid-year performance status

 

The DHA had 10 performance indicators, as published in the 2012 Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE). The performance at mid-year was as follows:

 

•            Percentage of machine readable passports (manual process) issued within 24 days: Target for 2012/13 was 651 577 and the Department has achieved 184 749, which represented 28.4 per cent of the target for the year.

•            Percentage of machine readable passports (live capture process) issued within 13 days: Target for 2012/13 was 434 385 and the Department had achieved 76 874, which represented 17.7 per cent of the target for the year.

•            Percentage of identity documents (first issue) issued in 54 days: Target for 2012/13 was 1 105 800 and the Department had achieved 526 615, which represented 47. 6 per cent of the target for the year.

•            Percentage of identity documents (second issue) issued in 47 days: Target for 2012/13 is 1 197 950 and the Department has achieved 437 759, which represents 36.5 per cent of the target for the year.

•            Percentage of births registered within 30 days of the birth event against an estimated 1.1 million births per year: Target for 2012/13 was 594 000 and the Department had achieved 304 466, which represented 51.3 per cent of the target for the year.

•            Percentage of permanent residence permits issued within 8 months: Target for 2012/13 was 2 500 and the Department has achieved 186, which represents 7.4 per cent of the target for the year.

•            Percentage of temporary residence permits (work, business and corporate) issued 8 week: Target for 2012/13 was 109 600 and the Department had achieved 7 303, which represented 6.7 per cent of the target for the year.

•            Number of permanent and temporary residence permits issued per year: Target for 2012/13 was 190 000 and the Department has achieved 38 301, which represented 20.2 per cent of the target for the year.

•            Number of arrivals and departures cleared per year: Target for 2012/13 was 31 200 000 and the Department has recorded 17 505 194, which represented 56.1 per cent of the target for the year.

•            Number of illegal foreigners deported per year: Target for 2012/13 was 75 000 and information on the actual performance achieved was not available.

 

As in the annual report for 2011/12, the Department had only achieved more than 50 per cent of its targets for a few indicators (two) which were: Percentage of births registered within 30 days of the birth event against an estimated 1.1 million births per year and number of arrivals and departures cleared per year. Given the mid-year trend there was a valid reason for concern that the DHA may again not achieve many of its targets in the 2012/13 Annual report.

8. COMMITTEE’S OBSERVATIONS

 

The following observations were consolidated from the various sources included in the report and from the discussions of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on the Budget Review and Recommendation Report. Recommendations are according to the four programmes in the 2010/11-13/14 strategic plan of the DHA:

 

8.1 Administration

 

•            A continued focus on the look and feel of both front and back offices was needed to ensure that employee morale and service delivery was improved.

•            There was a shortage of adequate vehicles at border and other offices.

•            The objective to achieve a clean audit requires that a large number of systems and controls (governance, management and operational) were in place. Similarly, performance management required systems as well as a change in values and behaviour by staff and managers.

•            There was concern of continued under spending by the DHA in the first three quarters on the budgets allocated to it.

•            There was a need to prioritise the filling and funding of all critical vacant posts by 2012/13. The Department must forthwith report its staffing requirements, including unfunded vacancies, and must report its vacancy rate taking these unfunded vacancies into account.

•            The committee observed focus on improving provision of transport in all of its offices and the ports of entry. Measures such as roving or pooled vehicles as well as dedicated deportation officials could be considered.

•            There was a need to implement a maintenance solution to ensure that all mobile units and their communication systems in particular, were working properly particularly so as to effectively  service rural areas during the 2011/12 financial year,

•            Online verification of identity including the biometrics of taking and recording of fingerprints need to be rolled out to all the Home Affairs offices countrywide by end of 2011/12 financial year.

 

8.2 Citizens Services

 

•      Although the issue of duplicate cases was raised in the BRRR of 2011 and the department had made an effort to resolve this difficult challenge, there was still an outcry in the communities.

•      The department had committed to implement the Smart ID Card, but the concern of the Committee was the implementation of the Live Capture in all the offices.

•      The Stakeholder Forums had not been implemented in all the local municipalities.

•      The department was unable to reach the government target of employing 2% of persons with disabilities.

•      The Provincial Managers of Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal provinces were in acting positions as were other key officials. 

•      The department had not filled all priority posts it identified. The committee felt that effective delivery should not be hampered by sticking rigidly to equity targets.

 

8.3 Immigration Services

 

•     The Committee felt that the R110 million allocated to DHA through the Department of Public Works was not enough for infrastructure.

•     The landing card should be expedited. The country should know the whereabouts of foreigners in South Africa. Many countries around the world are able to track all foreigners in their territory and South Africa should do the same.

•     The Enhanced Movement Control system had not been implemented in all ports of entry.

•     The Refugees and Immigration Amendment Bills were completed in 2011 and the department had not developed the regulations to implement the Bills.

•     The department did not have a refugee charter, which will spell out the responsibility of an asylum seeker and not only rely on the treaties that the government had signed.

 

8.4 Entities

 

The following table is a summary of the findings of the Auditor General for the entities under the Home Affairs Portfolio.

 

Audit opinions

08-09

09-10

10-11

11-12

Independent Electoral Commission

unqualified

qualified

unqualified

unqualified

Government Printing Works

qualified

unqualified

unqualified

unqualified

Film and Publication board

unqualified

unqualified

unqualified

unqualified

Qualification areas

 

 

 

 

·         Independent Electoral Commission

-          Administration Expenditure

-          Commitments

 

X

 

 

·         Government Printing Works

-          Inventory

-          Liabilities (unallocated deposits)

X

 

 

 

Other matters

 

 

 

 

·         Predetermined objectives

 

 

 

 

Independent Electoral Commission

X

X

X

 

Government Printing Works

 

X

X

 

Film and Publication board

X

X

X

X

·         Compliance with laws and regulations

 

 

 

 

DHA

X

X

X

 X

Independent Electoral Commission

X

X

X

X

Government Printing Works

 

X

X

X

Film and Publication board

X

X

X

X

 

What can be seen was that that apart from two exceptions in the last four years, all the entities in the Home Affairs Portfolio were competent at receiving an Unqualified Audit opinion. What was also clear, however, was that there were significant and lingering concerns around predetermined objectives and compliance with laws and regulations. Relating to Supply Chain Management (SCM) the AG specifically recommended to the Electoral Commission Management that it should ensure that requests for quotations above R30 000 should include evaluation criteria as required by the relevant regulations. The accounting officer must also exercise all reasonable care to prevent and detect irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and must for this purpose implement effective, efficient and transparent processes of financial and risk management.

 

To the FPB the AG recommended that for SCM it be given a thorough review of processing of invoices and related payments done by appropriate senior management personnel. The AG also recommended that changes in legislation and policies were communicated to all staff members on a regular basis; and that compliance to them was monitored prior to purchasing goods and services from suppliers.

 

To the GPW, the AG recommended that internal audit should be fully capacitated so as to be able to   evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of controls. The settling of payments within 30 days by the GPW should be emphasized to all employees and adequate internal controls should be designed and implemented by management. Lastly the risk assessment process should be performed on a regular basis to identify emerging risk.

9. CONCLUSION

 

After making significant progress in its 2010/11 financial reporting, the DHA had unfortunately reverted back to receiving a qualified and late tabled audit report in 2011/12 with more than double the amount of matters raised by the Auditor General the year before. Performance  against predetermined strategic targets had also not improved on previous years and continues into mid-2012 with more than half of all targets set, not fully achieved. The Department had affirmed that its goal was a clean audit which was even more demanding than an unqualified audit.

 

It was expected that despite these setbacks, the continued efforts of the DHA to improve on its service delivery particularly on immigration services will move forward.

 

The continued improvements by the entities under the DHA were commendable and their striving towards clean audits was encouraged.

10. RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Of the issues observed by the committee during the year under review the following were of particular concern and were recommended for prioritisation by the Minister of Home Affairs in the future planning and budget allocations:

 

10.1. Ensure that the Information Technology systems integration projects of the DHA were finalised and  

         implemented.

10.2. Ensure that the Smart ID Card was rolled out during the 2012/13 financial year. Live Capture should

         be rolled out to all offices of the department in order to implement the roll out of the Smart ID Card.

10.3. Ensure that all priority posts were filled before the end of the 2012/13 financial year.

10.4. Ensure that the internal audit and compliance monitoring capacity and training of both the

  department and its entities were prioritised.

10.5. Urgently improve strategic planning and monitoring of performance to be reliable, realistic and

   measureable.

10.6. Consider methods for the better control and monitoring of migrants within the country, both for

improved services delivery and security as immigration policy was revised.  The use of biometrics  

and an especially digital fingerprint record was a critical tool in this area.

10.7. Improve on human resource development and training to ensure that new regulations and

  accounting systems were uniformly implemented. This applied in particular to the new accounting             

   policy and procedures to be implemented in missions for the collections of fees on behalf of DHA by    

   DIRCO.

10.8. The Minister of Home Affairs should report back in six months on progress made on the

          abovementioned recommendations.

 

Report to be considered