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Address by Nomhle Dambuza (ANC) MP on the debate: "Responding to the needs of our people through peace and stability" in the National Assembly

13 November 2018

Honorable Speaker

Under the apartheid regime, with its Bantustan offspring's, the main objective of the Department of Home Affairs was to control black people and deny them their citizenship, identity, dignity and freedom of movement. The National Democratic Revolution seeks to ensure that every South African, especially the poor, experience an improved quality of life. It seeks to build a developmental state shaped by the history and socio-economic dynamics of South Africa. A developmental state cannot be unable to meet its goals without a detailed and secure identification system that incorporates both citizens and non-citizens who live, work and/or study within its borders. The identification system is crucial for a range of social, economic and cultural activities, and ensures that the state is empowered to organise itself and protect its citizens.

Honorable Speaker, the Department of Home Affairs is the custodian, protector and verifier of the identity and status of citizens and other person's residing in South Africa. This makes it possible for people to realise their rights and access benefits and opportunities in both the public and private domains. By expanding these services to marginalised communities, the department plays is a key in deepening democracy and social justice.

Honorable Speaker, the ANC's 53rd National Conference noted that the presence of undocumented migrants in the Republic poses both an economic and security threat to the country. Therefore we have resolved that Home Affairs should take a lead in border management, as a department which is responsible for immigration issues. Immigration impacts strongly on our security, economic, social and cultural development. The creation of decent work depends on trade and tourism and the flow of skills and knowledge, all of which is impossible without the movement of people. A better and safer life for all South Africans is only possible if we are integrated into the global village.

The ANC and the masses of our people have always stood against racism and embraced have internationalism and a sense of belonging to humanity. At the same time, we must be vigilant and defend the state, the people and South Africa's sovereignty. There must be a secured and responsive immigration system that manages immigration effectively, in a way which benefits our economy and society and manages risks to national security. A well-managed immigration system is therefore crucial in achieving our national objectives.

In order to strengthen our border control, the Border Management Authority (BMA) that is to be established will assist in controlling and stopping illegal immigrants from getting into South Africa. The current system of having a multi-departmental control has its own challenges in terms of command and control. This agency, command and control will be from one centre and therefore we believe that it will be more economical, efficient and above all it will be effective. The ANC calls upon for a speedy finalisation of the BMA to address the issue of porousness of our borders .

When the new Unabridged Birth Certificate Regulations were issued in 2015, they caused an uproar amongst traveller's entering and leaving South Africa with children under age 18 (minors). Citizens and visitors had to produce their child's unabridged birth certificates plus mountains of paperwork to allow their children into the country.Between 1995 and March 2013, when a child was born in South Africa, they were issued with an abridged birth certificate that showed only their mother's name. Children born after March 2013 have been issued with an unabridged certificate showing the names of both parents. Now, the birth certificate automatically shows the names of both persons and is simply called The Birth Certificate.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has scrapped the unabridged version of South Africa's Birth Certificate and now only issues Birth Certificates displaying the details of both parents. All children under age 18 (minors) travelling into and out of South Africa must now travel with their own passport that shows the details of both parents and is set to be the main travel document.

Honorable Speaker, 1248 662 smart ID cards were issued to citizens 16 years and over (April to September 2017) and again 1 615 449 smart ID were issued to citizens 16 years and over (October 2017 to March). 386 635 Births were registered within 30 calendar days (April to September 2017), 385 400 births were registered within 30 calendar days (October 2017 to March 2018). 98% of temporary residence permits were adjudicated within 8 weeks for applications processed within the Republic of South Africa.

The interim biometric solution is currently in operation at OR International Airport, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airport and Lanseria International Airports and the following 6 land ports of entry: Lebombo, kopfontein, Beit bridge, Oshoek, Maseru bridge, and Ficksburg bridge. At Cape Town harbour, selected counters have been equipped with biometric capability.

The Department of Home Affairs also took several initiatives to secure and streamline the management, processing and adjudication of asylum seekers. These included the extensive upgrading of software, hardware, processes, filing system, security, queue management as well as infrastructure at the Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception offices (previously known as the Marabastad Refugee Reception office). This allowed the department of Home Affairs to close the Tshwane Interim Refugee Reception Office at the show grounds and merge with the newly revamped Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception office.

The Department of Home Affairs has introduced an offsite interpretation service that allows for central interpretation centre, this minimizes interaction between interpreters, clients and staff and allows for a digital recording of all interpretations. In an effort to streamline and support the client experience, an Automated Booking Terminal (ABT) which is integrated with the National Immigration Information System (NIIS) was introduced) this Automated Booking Terminal allows for clients to book a date and time of their choice. It was further enhanced to enable qualifying asylum seekers to self-extend their 22 permits using biometric verification.

The Lindela Holding Facility has increased the human rights oversight by independent organizations such as the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and international of the Red Cross (ICRC) who regularly monitor the facility. The Department of Home Affairs has now implemented a medical screening centre in addition to the clinic at the facility. The medical screening facility does a full medical check-up on deportees entering the facility to ensure that their medical history is known and to ensure that they are not suffering from any medical ailments that would put themselves and other deportees at risk.

In ensuring legal movement of travellers within SADC, the government implemented the Lesotho Special Permit which follows from the Lesotho Special Dispensation. The objectives of the Lesotho Special dispensation was to regularize Basotho's residing in South Africa illegally, relief pressure from asylum and refugee regime and to provide amnesty to Basotho's who obtained South Africa documents fraudulently by suspending their deportation and allowing them to apply for Lesotho Special Permits. The project has been successful and progressed well based on best practice and lessons learnt from the Zimbabwe Special Permit.

The Moetapele initiative was born, to gear the staff of Home Affairs to be able to perform their functions more effectively. What is unique about this program was that it was open to all staff irrespective of occupational group. 300 managers throughout Home Affairs were taken through advanced management training course and front-line staff attended the high impact leadership workshops in all nine provinces. The Moetapele program saw the significant enhancement of business processes and systems in supporting of the renaming of the Centre to the Desmond Tutu Refugee Processing Centre on 17 February 2017.

Defence and Military Veterans

Honorable Speaker, The Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DMV) derives its mandate from section 200 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. It's objectives are to provide a structured disciplinary military force with the primary objective to defend and protect the Republic, its territorial integrity and its people. Speaker, the Department had planned to support 4500 military veterans and their dependent's in 2017/18 financial year, however to date it has supported 7712 (4966 in basic and 2746 in tertiary). These numbers have increased considerably compared to the Department's predictions, due to the changing socio-economic conditions of military veterans and the increased awareness amongst military veterans about their benefits.

In 2014, the DMV was providing education support to only 200 military veterans and their dependent's. There has been exponential increase in the previous financial year. The ANC led government assisted 7712 eligible military veterans and their dependent's with Educational Support.

The Department has increased access to health services to more than 15000 military veterans through the South African Military Health Services (SAHMS).The socio-economic realities of the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, resulted in the Ministerial intervention program, which assisted 2 832 military veterans, an expenditure of R 25, 8 million, in the 2017 financial year.

This year, 1 552 recruits reported for duty to the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) program and the University Reserve Training Program (URTP). This is the Department's contribution to job creation and poverty alleviation. On successful completion of basic military training 2017, the intake of MSDs will undergo further training in particular mustering ranging from fire and emergency services through to chefs and other support functions.

The SANDF is involved in improving young South Africans through the National Rural Youth Service Corps (Narysec) in conjunction with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. This skills development program has at its core non-military character building training. The NARYSEC program is a 24 month skills development program within the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, it targets unemployed youth in rural areas, aged between 18 - 25 in possession of Grade 12, as part of the rural economic transformation strategy from poor rural wards. Since its inception in 1 September 2010 to date, NARYSEC has recruited 22341 (as on 30 April 2018) rural youth in all 9 Provinces

While there has been slow progress in the delivery of houses to military veterans, the Department has delivered 238 newly built houses and assisted 104 military veterans whose mortgages were in distress to a tune of R13 million. The Department is engaging in talks with the Department of Human Settlements on how to accelerate the roll-out of houses to military veterans. However the ANC calls upon the department and human settlements to Fast-Track the rolling out the program.

Honorable Speaker, South Africa's national interest are centred on the advancement of its sovereignty, democracy, national values and freedoms; not forgetting its political and economic independence. It is with this in mind, that South Africa's national security is focused on its sovereignty, constitutional order, security, social and economic prosperity and other related priorities of territorial integrity. As a result, South Africa's national security inextricably hinges on the stability, unity and prosperity of the Southern Africa, and the continent in general.

Hon members I thank you.

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