My colleague, Deputy Minister, Mr Njabulo Nzuza
The Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mr Tommy Makhode
Members of the public listening through various platforms
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen,
We invited you today to provide an update to the nation about three key developments in the work of the Department, namely:
- Improving service delivery:
- Security of our documents, and
- Reintroduction of transit visas for some nationalities.
Digitisation of Home Affairs Civic paper records
You will recall that His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during the State of the Nation Address in February 2022 that “the Department of Home Affairs will recruit 10 000 unemployed young graduates for the digitisation of its Civic paper records, enhancing their skills and contributing to the modernisation of citizens services” through the Presidential Employment Stimulus, PES.
The Department has more than 350 million Civic paper records relating to birth, marriages, deaths and amendments. The category of records dates back to 1895 which necessitates care and reliable systems that will bear tolerance for the digitisation purposes. These records are in all provinces and the bulk of which are in Gauteng, North West and the Western Cape.
Following the announcement made by the President, I have made subsequent comments on the acquisition of the 10 000 unemployed graduates. This briefing is to update you on the progress that has been made thus far.
Before I delve into the details of the update on the youth acquisition, it must be noted that the Department is increasingly using technology to improve the way it renders services to the people and to improve the security of our documents.
This will be possible through the realization of the secondary objective of the digitization project which seeks to recruit 10 000 unemployed young graduates. These unemployed youth should be qualified in Information Technology; Document, Information and Records Management, obtained from Institutions of Higher Learning (Universities, Universities of Technologies, TVETs).
The project will run over a three (3) year period, effective from November 2022 until October 2025. Successful youth will be paid a stipend ranging from R5 000 for entry level positions to R9 500 for Technical Support level positions and R14 250 for Manager level positions.
This cohort will be required to sign a three-year contract linked to the duration of the project.
The Department will partner with relevant stakeholders to facilitate training of these recruits. Training offered will be relevant to the job for which they are contracted to perform, continuous learning and development interventions will be provided to enhance their employability and/or allow them to leverage on entrepreneurial opportunities beyond the project.
The acquisition of the young unemployed graduates will be done in collaboration with the Department of Employment and Labour. Considering the large number to be recruited, the acquisition process will be undertaken in a phased approach as follows:
Phase 1 – will see recruitment of the first intake of 2 000 unemployed youth graduates. The adverts for this phase will be available as from tomorrow, 12 August 2022. This cohort will assume duty on 1 November 2022.
Phase 2 – will see a further recruitment of 4 000 unemployed youth graduates. The adverts for this phase will be placed during October 2022. This cohort will assume duty in January 2023.
Phase 3 – will see a further and last recruitment of 4 000 unemployed youth graduates. The adverts for this phase will be placed during December 2022 and January 2023. This cohort will assume duty in April 2023.
Youth can register and apply online through the DHA and DEL websites. Those that do not have access to the internet can visit their closest Labour Centre of the Department of Employment and Labour.
The acquisition process will ascribe to the following guiding principles:
- Fair and transparent process;
- Inclusive of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs);
- Accessible to unemployed young graduates across the country;
- This is not an Internship program but rather a programme that addresses youth unemployment;
- The acquisition process will adopt a blended approach wherein applications are received through walk-in centres, Labour Centres and on digital platforms;
- Advertisements will be placed on Social Media platforms, Radio, Print Media, Television, Labour Centres and on the following websites: labour.gov.za and dha.gov.za.
In this month of women, and to honour the heroines of the 1956 march to the Union Buildings, we wish to announce that 60% of the intake will be of young women and only 40% will be young men.
Parallel to the process of youth acquisition, the Department is also preparing the workstations and sourcing tools required to ensure that they are able to start digitising records in December 2022.
Quite often, South Africans complain bitterly about the delays they experience when they apply for Unabridged Birth Certificates, Unabridged Marriage Certificates, Amendments and Rectification of their biographic details.
This is because to finalise all these applications, Home Affairs officials have to manually search for original documents among these 350 million manual records. Obviously such a tedious process will take a long time, which people may not be aware of. This leads to frustration when people have to make several visits to Home Affairs.
Deputy Minister Nzuza is running a very important programme of helping Grade 12 learners to apply for IDs. One of the documents required for this process is the Unabridged Birth Certificate. Quite often, there is a delay for completion for the issuance of such IDs for the same reason that officials have to search manually for the records.
Once the records are digitised, Home Affairs officials will have access to them at a click of a button and would be able to finalise the applications instantly. This will obviate people having to come to the office on multiple occasions.
Grade 12 learners will be able to spend more time studying and preparing for their exams instead of making several visits to Home Affairs offices.
Reducing the number of times a person needs to visit a Home Affairs office for these services will reduce queues in our offices.
Ensuring the security and integrity of our passports
Ladies and gentlemen,
In recent months the SA passport has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Firstly, on the 24 March 2022, in our Krugersdorp office the nation saw us apprehending a Pakistani national and arresting him with some South African citizens and corrupt Home Affairs officials. All these people were working together to defraud the SA passport.
Secondly and immediately thereafter, the story of “Lebogang from Bangladesh” made headlines all over the media, including on social media.
This angered a lot of South Africans while some turned it into jokes. What people don’t realise are the serious consequences and hardships that the country suffers when its passports are defrauded in this manner.
The main one being that the integrity of the South African passport will be put into question, causing many hardship for South African travellers.
It is for this reason that this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue.
Today, we are announcing the first of three steps to be taken by the Department to secure the integrity of our passport, and make it foolproof against fraudulent acquisition.
The other two steps will be announced in due course.
People might have realised that when they apply for passports, they could collect them from any office in the country and they could also be collected by third parties.
We are announcing today that, unfortunately, this can no longer happen. The following measures will have to be followed:
- A passport can only be collected strictly from the office where it was applied for.
- Only the person who applied for that passport can come and collect it by activating it through a fingerprint. By the way, this is nothing new. This is a method that is being used to collect Smart ID Cards. We had exempted passport collection from this method for two reasons:
- Many travellers found themselves in a hurry to travel.
- Many of the travellers, especially in the business world, and other big institutions may not always have time to come to our offices. Unfortunately, this privilege is now being taken away.
- For minor children, their parents or guardians who helped them to apply for that passport will be the only ones allowed to come and collect it and activate it using their own fingerprints.
We must strongly warn that any passport collected using whatever method other than the ones announced today will not be activated and hence will be of no use to the holder.
We are aware that this will inconvenience some frequent travellers and some busy people who might not have time but we are appealing that everybody has to be prepared to readily pay this price for the integrity of our passports.
We also wish to advise passport holders to check passports for expiry at least once a month or for frequent travellers, every fortnight.
I wish to take this opportunity to dispel the myth of an emergency passport.
There is nothing called an emergency passport for any South African travelling to another country. The so called emergency passport is actually a hand written document available only to a South African who is stranded in another country. This document allows them to return home and when they arrive, its usefulness and comes to an abrupt end.
For any South African wishing to go to other countries, they have to apply for a passport following regular processes. We are, however, able to produce a passport in five to 13 days. Under certain, select circumstances, we may produce a passport within 24 hours.
I must warn that this is very rare and the people will have to pay an arm and a leg for this to happen.
So the safest thing to do is to keep on checking the expiry on your passport. With smartphones, you can set a reminder.
You may be aware that the Department has rolled out the Branch Appointment Booking System. The Department invites people wanting to apply for passports to use this option.
People requiring passports can also use the partnership we have with banks to apply and collect their travel documents.
Reinstatement of transit visa for ordinary passport holders from Bangladesh and Pakistan
Today I wish to announce that we have decided to withdraw the transit visa exemption and reinstate transit visa requirements for Bangladeshi and Pakistani ordinary passport holders from 1 August 2022.
This means that all travellers using ordinary passports issued by Bangladesh and Pakistan authorities are required to apply for a visa when transiting through South Africa to other countries.
The decision was informed by recent incidents wherein passengers from the two countries were caught attempting to enter into South Africa illegally by sneaking in through fire hydrant passages at the airport while on the way to the transit lounge to continue to other countries. In so doing, they try to evade immigration and other law enforcement officers at the Port of Entry, thus undermining the security and sovereignty of the State.
The reintroduction of transit visas is one of the practical and strong interventions we are making in our ongoing efforts of strengthening entry requirements at our airports. It also underscores our resolve to stop people from undermining our systems.
Authorities of Bangladesh and the Republic of Pakistani have been informed of this decision through South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
The decision has also been communicated to relevant stakeholders, including the national Department of Tourism, Heads of South African Missions, the airline industry, Tourism SA and Home Affairs officials at ports of entry, to allow for adequate preparation on the part of airlines and visa issuing offices.
Thank you very much.
Bongi Gwala 066 588 3251 (Head of Communication: Department of Home Affairs)
Siya Qoza, 082 898 1657 (Spokesperson for the Minister of Home Affairs)
David Hlabane, 071 342 4284 (Media Manager: Department of Home Affairs)
ISSUED BY DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS