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Budget Vote debate speech by Hon. DM Gumede (ANC)MP on the Budget Vote 5 of Home Affairs Department

16 May 2018

Let me say from the onset, the ANC supports this budget vote, and this vote is for the department to efficiently determine and safeguard the identity of citizens as well as to regulate immigration to ensure security, promote development and fulfil South Africa's international obligations.

For that this parliament will vote to allocate R 7 915 400 000, to the department, for the department to use it efficiently, effectively and economically.

Hon Chairperson, our portfolio committee will have to oversee implementation of the department's key mandate which is to guarantee identity documentation and status of each and every South African citizen as well as managing the regulation and management of international migration, in its contribution to make South Africans and everyone within our borders safe, and feel safe.

Hon Chairperson, in executing this important mandate in the 2016/2017 financial year, the department has shown much improvement in governance and accountability which is reflected in the unqualified audit of the Auditor General. It is not common for the Auditor general to state that in his view a department has spent each and every cent for the purpose it was meant.

We say well done to the DG and his team.

Moving away from financial management, into operational management, we have seen that a lot of good work has been done, but a lot still needs to be done as well. Here we are concerned about poor and slow queues, frequent computer shutdowns which result in people being sent back home without a service, shutdowns because of cable theft etc.

Oh the journey from the dompass to smartcards was long and tedious, all it needs is hard work and dedication, on that there is no compromise.

To all clients of Home Affairs, we say, your parliament is trying hard, please bear with us, kuzolunga.

We were pleased though to hear that you are changing that IT service provider, and as soon as the new one starts we do not want to hear anything about shutdowns because of your IT system.

Hon Chairperson, there is further good news coming our way, some services are available from some reputable banks now, and the Department is rolling out that service now, and hopefully that will result in faster services and happier experiences for clients. Thanks to the private-public-partnerships that are fruits of your toil and leadership Hon Minister and your team, we know that you are not only monitoring queues, keep working harder, we can things are getting better.

We can testify that indeed today is better than yesterday, and your actions show us that tomorrow will be better than today.

Hon Chairperson, members of the committee are from time to time monitoring Home Affairs offices and whilst many are doing well, not everyone is doing their best to ensure prompt service for our clients; let them know that we want management and staff that care - BATHO PELE.

Moving on Hon Chairperson, on the first of March 2017, Cabinet approved repositioning of the Department from a mainly administrative approach and management, into being mainly a security organ of the state. This change demands resources and capacities that will be in line with a changing mandate. We therefore expect the department to be more efficient, more effective and more professional as a result.

Along with improvements, the government is acting on the porous borders many citizens have been complaining about in order to regulate migration and to improve security within its borders, and as a result parliament is in its final stages of drafting the BMA, which will combine the strengths, resources, capabilities as well as experiences of many departments to manage activities around the border line.

Among these departments are the South African National defence force, State Security Agency, Home Affairs, customs, agriculture and health.

Other pieces of legislation that are in the parliamentary system are the amendment of the immigration bill as well as the refugee bill which which also need to be finalized with the required speed.

In my concluding remarks let me mention the position of the ANC on the Fireblade Oppenheimer arrangement; we reject privatization of our ports of entry as a matter of principle and that's the principle that determines our position. Public servants cannot dedicate their services to the rich few because they can afford and exclude the majority because they cannot afford. I'm sure that uTata Mandela and umamaSisulu would with our stand.

Our committee is also dealing with the issue of naturalization in general, as a result of reports about the citizenship of the Guptas. Parliament is verifying the authenticity of some supporting documentation in the Naturalization of that family as a matter of priority. If we find any prima face evidence we shall not doubt to send that evidence to the Hawks further investigation. They can investigate better.

Despite all problems we have, we remain the best country in the world, if you doubt, travel the world.

Thank you.

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