10 JULY 2019
My colleague Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Honourable Njabulo Nzuza
Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Honourable Bongani Bongo
Honourable members of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs
The Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Mr Glenn Mashinini
The representative of the CEO of the Government Printing Works (GPW), Ms Michel Modise
Honourable members of the House
Ladies and Gentlemen
Fellow South Africans
Good afternoon to you all and thank you for being here.
It is a great honour and privilege to present to this house the 2019/20 Home Affairs budget and in the process to outline our plans and priorities for the first year of the sixth democratic government.
Every human being found within the borders of the Republic of South Africa will at some time or another, need the services of Home Affairs Department, unless such an individual deliberately and for some sinister motive, decides to exist in contravention of the laws of the country. Hence the Department of Home Affairs has two main arms that define its functions. The two arms could be described broadly as civic matters and immigration matters.
I have just realised that to many people, Home Affairs means immigration and immigration only. This is very misleading and unfortunate.
Actually Honourable Chairperson, the civic arm of Home Affairs is the biggest and the most active ever. This is because for any individual to live a stable, productive, trouble-free and beneficial life within the confines of the laws of the country, such an individual needs the services of Home Affairs at least three times within their lifetime.
Of course it will be at least four times within the lifetime of those who decide to get married.
Your first ever interaction with Home Affairs is when you arrive in this world through the Republic of South Africa. Home Affairs must record your arrival and place you on the population register. This is done by awarding you a birth certificate which acts as proof of your arrival. This document will indicate who you are, when did you arrive, where in the country did you arrive and who gave birth to you.
On this document Home Affairs will also award you a number, denoted as your Identity which will represent you in all transactions and interactions with the state, the corporate world and fellow human beings until you depart this planet.
Your second interaction with Home Affairs is when you turn 16 and you have to take an identity document commonly known as the ID.
Your third interaction is when you get married.
Your fourth and very last interaction is when you depart this planet for good. Home Affairs has to record that you have departed and never to come back. Whoever is your next of kin is even awarded a document detailing your departure. This is called a death certificate.
Because of our relationship with the rest of the world, some of us may need a fifth interaction with Home Affairs. This is when you are awarded a passport.
I have deliberately detailed people’s interactions with Home Affairs for two reasons:
- Firstly, to remind you what Home Affairs is mainly about
- Secondly to warn you that this seemingly simple interactions with Home Affairs while necessary can sometimes turn into horror – absolute horror.
I am talking here of the type of horror that turns your life upside down. It may bring your life to an absolute standstill or even force your life into a tailspin.
Today in this budget speech, I want us to travel together on a journey to make sure that the 5 interactions of the people of this country with Home Affairs are as pleasant as they could. We need to work together to eliminate all possibilities of unpleasantness.
It may be essential for me to outline some of the issues that may turn one’s life into a nightmare instead of a stable, pleasant and productive one.
- Your identity might be wrongly recorded deliberately or by mistake but such that you become somebody else rather than who you are.
- Somebody might steal your identity and practically steal your life by impersonating you through this identity documents.
- Somebody may steal your document and commit crime that will automatically implicate you.
- You may be married off to a total stranger you have never met before.
For those who never went through these experiences, it may be difficult for them to comprehend what I am trying to convey, but for those who went through these horrors, no explanation is necessary for them to understand me.
Today, I have brought 2 (two) South Africans into this House and I wish to introduce them to you.
We have Ms Thami Swartbooi.
(Please stand up Madam for the House to see you.)
Thami took her ID in 1995 and lived a normal life like anyone of us. She stays in Vereeniging in Gauteng. In 2004 things turned horrible for her. Another woman, staying a thousand km away from her in Nelson Mandela Bay, stole her identity and resumed life as Thami Swartbooi.
This means that whatever this other woman did, was regarded by law as having been done by Thami and I can assure you she did a lot of bad things.
Even when this other woman got married, the law regarded Thami as the one who got married. Thami received summonses for debts she knew nothing about. Two children which she never met before were registered as hers in legal documents. She couldn’t get officially married because the law wouldn’t allow anybody to marry twice except after a divorce or death. She could not open accounts of her own because she was supposed to be already heavily indebted. Her life went into a tailspin and virtually came to a halt. She lived this horror for 14 years.
Fortunately, we reached to Thami when her story was reported in the media and gave her back her identity and her normal life within 48 hours. She is now living life as she should and a month ago, I went to apologise to her on behalf of the state.
Today I am apologising to her once more in front of this august House as a sign that we will never allow this to happen to other women anymore.
We have asked her to become an ambassador of Home Affairs on identity fraud and fraudulent marriages.
We want her to work with us to identify women who are already living in this situation so that we can solve their problems and make sure that this never happens again. As to the evil woman who did this to her, we are on her trail, and very soon she will be locked up.
Annually, the Department came across an average of 2000 fraudulent marriages. From 1st April 2018 to date, the Department came across 2132 fraudulent marriages. Out of these, 1160 were found to be indeed fake and were annulled by the Department. But 646 were found to be legitimate and the Department refused to expunge such marriages from the register. These are called marriages of Convenience.
There are people who marry each other for convenience. This happens between a South African and a non-South African. The South African is rewarded with huge sums of money and the non-South African gains easy citizenship through the marriage.
There is a mistaken belief that when transactions through such marriages have been completed, you just approach Home Affairs and demand that they expunge the marriage from the records.
I wish to warn that Home Affairs cannot just expunge your marriage simply because you no longer want it. If you marry legally but for wrong reasons, you can only cancel that marriage through normal divorce proceedings in a court of law.
The marriages that are truly fraudulent, like the 1160 which I have mentioned above, happen in three ways which people must be aware of.
- Fraud syndicates consisting of Home Affairs officials and other marriage officers outside Home Affairs
- Employment agencies who ask you to hand over all your documentation with a promise of securing a job for you
- When there is duplicated identity where somebody is impersonating you, like in this case of Thami.
Of the original 2132 fraudulent marriages, we are still left with 326 which we are still investigating.
Our second guest is Ms Esther Sihlabela from Hazyview in Mpumalanga. She has 4 (four) children. But our records indicate that she has 7 children. She doesn’t know the other 3 children but they appear on her records nevertheless. What is more heart-breaking is that her last born was born in March 1999, twenty (20) years ago.
However, Home Affairs records show that she gave birth to a baby boy in December 1998 and so could not have given birth to another baby boy 3 months later. Hence officials refused to register this last born child of hers.
This boy could not have a birth certificate or an ID for the whole twenty years of his life. He was stateless for 20 years and Ms Sihlabela and this particular son of hers lived this horror throughout these decades. Even the police could not help Ms Sihlabela and her son. She, on her own, started doing her own investigations and eventually made a breakthrough. She found out who these three children appearing on her documents are – and they are not South Africans. But one of them has literally replaced her own son for 20 years.
It is only through cooperation of rogue Home Affairs officials that Ms Sihlabela could be placed in this situation. Such a cooperation from Home Affairs officials can only be secured through a bribe. We are busy following up to find out which scoundrel in the Home Affairs Department can do such an inhuman act just for money.
Two weeks ago, after hearing the story of Ms Thami Swartbooi and how we solved it, a Dr Colleague of mine phoned me about Ms Ester Sihlabela’s story. I called her in and we solved her son’s birth certificate problem within 24 hours and his ID problem within 5 days.
I don’t wish any South African to go through the ordeal that these two women and their families went through.
On analysing these problems, the Department came to one conclusion. If we deal with all matters of identification at birth, these problems will be markedly reduced or even eliminated.
Hence, Honourable Chair, we are planning a project with the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, whereby no child would be allowed to leave a hospital without a birth certificate, an unabridged one which reflects his/her ID and his/her parents.
Please don’t ask me what we are going to do with the runaway fathers. Those are not fathers. They are just baby-makers. Out of the ± 4000 health facilities in the country, 1445 can deliver babies.
Out of these, only 391 facilities have resources to issue birth certificates at birth. We are going to eliminate this anomaly.
This will need human resources, appropriate internet connectivity and appropriate equipment. The project we are planning is not just about recording a birth has taken place. No, the project is about making sure that the baby leaves a hospital with a printed birth certificate.
According to our roll-out plan, by March 2021 we will have completed the connection of 251 health facilities which are responsible for 84% of the births. By 2023, we will have completed the connection of all other facilities where birth is taking place.
When this is done, we will call upon all parents, Home Affairs officials, hospital authorities and other leaders never to allow any child in South Africa to leave a hospital without a printed authentic birth certificate.
When this happens, the Ms Swartboois and Ms Sihlabelas of this world and their children will cease to suffer horrors of their lives being put on hold.
Home Affairs is not going to rely only on issuing birth certificates and discussing forgery and fraud. No, we have already instituted other measures. The major one is that every Home Affairs official who has to issue an official document, be it birth certificate, ID, passport, marriage certificate or death certificate, can only access our systems through their password and fingerprints. This is called BACM (Biometric Access Control Management System). With this system, no Home Affairs officials can ever claim that their password and fingerprint were fraudulently used to access the system in their absence.
Every Home Affairs official who is empowered to issue documents have their biometrics registered for that purpose. An ordinary person like myself cannot get into a Home Affairs system and issue any official document.
This precaution will make sure that if a problem arises in future, we will definitely, with absolute certainty, know which Home Affairs official issued such a document.
It means in the case of Ms Sihlabela, we would have immediately known which Home Affairs official took a bribe.
Honourable Chairperson, because this issue of identity is so important to South African’s but always spoilt by fraud, the country has upped its game to squeeze out fraud. At the dawn of democracy, South Africans have been issued with green bar-coded IDs which unfortunately can be easily forged and defrauded by various means.
In 2013, the Department introduced a smart ID card which looks like a credit card. I can assure you that forging or defrauding using a smart ID is next to impossible. Hence all South Africans need the smart ID card.
When the Department started in 2013, it identified 38 million South Africans who must migrate to the smart ID card. Until now, 13 million smart IDs have been issued and 25 million are still outstanding. Added to that are children who turn 16 every year and qualify for IDs.
There are 412 Home Affairs front officers in the country where you can receive services from Home Affairs officials.
Unfortunately, issuing a smart ID card, due to its level of sophistication, cannot be done in an ordinary office. You need a specially equipped office to issue a smart ID card. As matters now stand, only 193 of the 412 offices are equipped to issue smart ID cards.
Hence, we issue only 3 million per annum. All the other remaining offices are still forced to issue the green bar-coded IDs and this will continue until such time that they are well equipped. In trying to accelerate the issuing of smart ID cards, we will this financial year, start assessing 26 more offices around the country to see if they can be equipped with the smart ID card system. When this happens, it will increase the offices that are so equipped to 219.
Honourable Chairperson, banks in South Africa are eager to have all their clients caring the smart ID card, and not the green-barcoded ID. This is because banks in South Africa lose up to R50 million annually to ID fraud. They have discovered that if all their clients are having the smart ID card, this fraud will no longer happen. Hence, the banks have agreed to go on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with us whereby all the clients of banks need not go to queue in Home Affairs offices when they want the smart ID card.
They can apply to the bank online and get to the bank to have their biometrics captured. This information is relayed to Home Affairs which then prints and issues the smart ID card and sends it back to the bank where the client will easily collect it.
For now, only 13 branches of banks in South Africa are providing this service. There are 12 in Gauteng and only 1 in the whole of the Western Cape. The other Provinces have none. This financial year, we will add 25 other branches of banks throughout the country and from April next year, we will add another 70.
Today we have brought to Parliament trucks outside here to service you members by giving you the opportunity to apply for a smart ID or even a passport. Our standard is that people should get their IDs or passports within 13 working days.
But if Honourable Members make use of this service and apply today, like Thami, we will give you your passport and ID within the next 48 hours. This is possible because Members of Parliament are a very small number in a small confined space.
For this particular service, we will be able to issue an ordinary passport. For Members of Parliament who wish to apply for an official passport, please go to 56 Barrack street here in Cape Town and apply there. If you apply today, we can still issue you your official passport in the next 48 hours.
Guests in the gallery can also make use of this service but unfortunately I advise you not to do it because you won’t be here in the next 48 hours. It is better go to your bank and apply there, online. To help you out, here are the branches that can help you immediately:
- ABSA Lifestyle – Centurion
- FNB Lifestyle – Centurion
- Standard Bank – Centurion
- FNB The Grove – Pretoria East
- Nedbank Acardia – Acardia, Pretoria
- ABSA Towers – JHB CBD
- Killarney Standard Bank – Killarney Mall
- Standard Bank – Simmons Street, JHB
- Lakeview Nedbank – Roodepoort
- Nedbank Rivonia – Rivonia
- FNB Merchant – Sandton
- Standard Bank – Canal walk, Cape Town.
For those who stay in far forbidden places like some of us from Limpopo, sorry for now, no bank offers this service. Wait for next the list of banks which will be read to you before the end of the year.
Please remember that if you wish to migrate from your green-barcoded ID to the smart ID card as I think you should, you will be required to pay R140.00, but if you are over 60 years of age, or you have just turned 16 years and are taking an ID for the very first time in your life, it is free. For anybody who loses their smart ID card and need a replacement, you will have to pay regardless of your age.
DIGITIZATION OF RECORDS
Prior to our modernisation programme, all applications for births, marriages, deaths, IDs, passports and other products, were lodged using paper-based application forms and this meant that those non-digitised documents must be physically stored and retrieved manually from time to time. We have started a huge task of digitizing 286 million records in order to make it easy for our back office staff to resolve cases referred to them for resolution by the front offices.
Currently, our back office staff find themselves shuttling between Pretoria CBD, Pretoria North and Bojanala District in North West where our records are archived. So far, 5,6 million of those records are now digital and the journey continues as we build a paperless department.
These records we are digitizing consist of birth certificates, IDs, passports, marriages and death certificates stretching as far back as early 1900. It is very common for Home Affairs to receive applications for vault copies and unabridged documents from the 1940s, 50s and 60s onwards, sometimes even earlier than these years.
These vault copies are in paper form and the ink is fading off due to humidity and other environmental conditions. Hence it is extremely important for the Department to digitize these records because it is an invaluable and irreplaceable record of identity for our nation.
While Home Affairs Department’s core mandate is issuing identification, we also contribute significantly to economic growth.
We do this by making life easier for our sister Departments, such as Tourism, to boast their tourism figures. Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that Tourism is very important for job creation.
Out of the 193 countries which are member states of the United Nations, the Department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these, 16 are in our continent and are SADC members and 59 are from all over the world.
Today, we wish to announce an addition to our visa-free countries. These are:
- United Arab Emirates
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- Sao Tome and Principe
We will immediately enter into discussions with them about how a visa-free regime will work. We still have some homework to do for 3 countries whose combined populations make up close to 30% of the world’s population, this is, China, India and Nigeria.
While we are busy tackling the matter of the three countries, we shall this financial year increase 2½ times the number of people who work for Home Affairs to process visas in both China and India. We shall increase 2 times the number of people who process visas to our country in Nigeria.
In addition to these measures, the President has announced in the State of the Nation address in both February and June 2019 that we shall accelerate the implementation of the e-visa system.
The e-visa system will advance deployment of immigration as a tool for economic development outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP). We will hence deliver on this effective visa regime for tourism and high skill immigration. E-visa will make it easier for tourists to visit, and for companies to acquire employees with critical skills. It will be an online application with a risk-based adjudication and issuance of your visa electronically as opposed to a hard copy. On receiving the electronic message by email, you will just continue straight to your airport and head on to South Africa.
We have already started testing this system at Lanseria Airport. It is being tested together with its attendant BMCs or Biometric Movement Control system. This testing will end at the end of October and we will then roll-out the whole system incrementally.
As I said earlier on, the second arm of Home Affairs is immigration. The Deputy Minister will talk about immigration in this debate today.
BORDER MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY (BMA)
For now I wish to talk about the BMA (Border Management Authority). In the public domain, a debate has been raging for a long time about South Africa’s porous borders and fragmented border management approach.
The problem is not that people must not come to South Africa, but that whoever enters the country must be properly documented. The porous borders make documentation extremely difficult. The problem of porous borders does not only lead to the lack of documentation of people.
There are also problems of trafficking of women and children across these porous borders. There is also a problem of hard drugs being smuggled easily across our borders.
There is also a problem of stolen goods, stolen cars and counterfeit goods and contraband, passing smoothly across our borders.
In 2013, Cabinet agreed on a Border Management Authority or the BMA.
At present, the borders are managed by 7 different Departments and entities applying 58 different laws passed by Parliament.
The Departments are:
- Home Affairs
- Agriculture, Land and Rural Development
- Environment and
- Treasury or SARS.
These Departments have seven different command structures with different laws, work ethics and different governance regimes. Under the BMA, there will be one command structure, and one governance system. The management of the borders will become rational. The BMA Bill has been passed in the National Assembly in 2017 and unfortunately got stuck in the NCOP. Our immediate task is to go to the NCOP and unstuck it so that we can establish the authority.
Once the bill is passed, the BMA pilot projects will start and focus on OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town Seaport, Oshoek land port between eSwatini and South Africa as well as Lebombo land port between Mozambique and South Africa.
Honourable Chairperson, South Africa has 72 ports of entry through which people enter our country. These consist of 53 land ports of entry, 11 airports and 8 sea ports.
South Africa has 17 land ports of entry with Botswana, 14 land ports of entry with Lesotho, 11 land ports of entry with eSwatini, 8 with Namibia, 2 with Mozambique and 1 with Zimbabwe.
To improve efficiencies in the facilitation of human and goods movement, the Department has decided on One-Stop Border Posts. This will start with 6 land border posts being revamped and redeveloped in a PPP which will enhance greater collaboration between government and the private sector in terms of infrastructure projects.
These six (6) will be:
- Beitbridge (Bordering with Zimbabwe)
- Ficksburg (with Lesotho)
- Kopfontein (with Botswana)
- Lebombo (with Mozambique)
- Oshoek (with eSwatini)
- Maseru (with Lesotho)
GOVERNMENT PRINTING WORKS (GPW)
South Africans are used to hearing horror stories about the failure of state owned enterprises or SOEs.
I wish to point to this House that not all state entities must be painted with the same brush. Government Printing Works under the Department of Home Affairs is one of the state entities that are running very well. I can state without any fear of contradiction that the Government Printing Works is one of the shining stars of state-owned entities.
It has been self-funding for the past 6 years and hence it runs its affairs without any cent from the Treasury. It actually sends a lot of profit to the Treasury.
It is responsible for printing government documents like Government Gazettes, brochures, Bills and information documents. But it also provides security printing such as exam papers and certificates.
Lastly, it is responsible for ultra-security printing of IDs, passports and high security certificates whose forging could be disastrous for the country.
On Wednesday last week, the GPW signed a 5-year agreement with the Department of Labour in the Government of eSwatini to print for it high security certificates.
Two weeks ago, I was in Namibia and we have started discussions about the possibility of providing printing services for the Department of Home Affairs there.
This financial year, the government printing works will easily pay its more than 500 employees, hire 105 extra employees, purchase R517 million worth of ultra-modern printing equipment and after all these expenditures, it will still make profit of R153 million by the end of the financial year.
Honourable members, I wish to extend our invitation to the members of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs to come and visit the Government Printing Works to see what I am talking about.
Let me take this opportunity to thank my colleague Deputy Minister Njabulo Nzuza for the harmest of working relationships. Warm words of gratitude to the Acting Director-General Thulani Mavuso, his management team and all staff at Home Affairs for striving for excellence. In the gallery we have office managers of Randburg, Mr Lekalakala, and Pretoria office Mr Ntamela, and they manage large volumes of our clientele with excellence. We also have Ms Mkhupheka from the Scottsburg office in KZN who received accolades last year for excellent service.
Thanks for the warm working relationship with members of the Portfolio Committee of Home Affairs whom we had the honour of meeting for the first time last week.
We drew valuable lessons from experiences of innovators, African countries, International Development Agencies, UN Agencies and Private sector companies at the 2019 ID4 Africa Annual meeting held at Emperors Palace on the 18-20 June 2019. A major highlight were case-studies on world class digital identity for improved public services.
Building collectively, a world class Home Affairs will indeed advance the goal of growing South Africa together – a South Africa of Justice, equity and prosperity for all.
I take this opportunity to table for the consideration of this house, the 2019/20 budget of R8,3 billion rand.
I thank you!!!