15 FEBRUARY 2023
His Excellency President Ramaphosa
My colleagues in the Executive
Ladies and Gentlemen
The speaker who was on the podium before me prancing like a peacock behaves like a small Chihuahua, eating at the heels of others, must be very careful because he belongs to a party that easily does black shedding. He might be black shed next week. He must tread very carefully.
Mr President, last year, in your State of the Nation Address you announced that the Department of Home Affairs will be hiring 10 000 unemployed young graduates in the field of IT, document and record management, to digitize paper-based Home Affairs records
Last week you gave a report back by making it known to the nation that the Department of Home Affairs has already appointed the first cohort of these 10 000.
Yes Mr President, we have divided the 10 000 young people into three cohorts. The first 2 000, the second 4 000 and the last 4 000.
This first cohort has completed its training last week in Benoni, and have been dispatched to all provinces to start their first job in their lives.
These young people will be employed for a period of three years to transform these paper records into digital files.
The advert for the second cohort of 4 000 is out already and the closing period is in the next two weeks. All the 10 000 young people will be on the job by the end of April 2023.
I must state that the recruitment process unveiled young people with highly impressive qualifications and technical skills, like 29 year old Phaphedi Sebjeng from Polokwane in Limpopo, who has a Masters Degree in Information studies and was hence appointed as Manager: Digitisation Project. I can assure you that this has absolutely nothing to do with where the Minister comes from. It just happened.
After your announcement Mr President, there were many people who were asking; what are these paper records all about?
They are actually files of records on birth, marriage, death, IDs, passports and other identification documents that are in our possession since 1895.
Some of you in this House might regard this as a mundane project.
His Excellency Mr President, some of these records have already helped some families to claim back their land because they were able to prove, through the records, who their ancestors were.
Can you imagine if they were to fade away due to age or worse still, to perish in a fire or some natural disaster?
StatsSA has been digitising these files for the past seven years but were only able to complete five million per annum.
Thanks to Treasury for availing R2.4 billion for the next three financial years for this project of national significance.
Members of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs often get irritated when members of the public complain that they have been waiting for a very long time for an amendment or a rectification on their name or date of birth. Remember, when you change your name or date of birth, you get a new ID. You are a new person.
Some of these people even resort to the courts and on many occasions the courts rule in their favour.
Now, where is the delay? We spend many months because officials have to literally forage among these 340 million records to check the original details that a person seeks to amend. So this project is of a significant milestone for us in Home Affairs and the citizens as a whole.
Many people will relish not having to pay repeated visits to Home Affairs as they are doing presently.
Mr President, annually we get around 80 000 people who want to amend their dates of birth or something on the spelling of their name or surname. You can imagine having to look for 80 000 records among the 340 million.
During our Budget Vote Debate last year we announced that we were going to be doing everything in our power to provide the public with multiple platforms to acquire identification and travel documents from Home Affairs. We wish to provide these multiple platforms to avoid the long queues and their attendant other hardships.
One of such platforms is to offer services in the main shopping malls of the country where people do not have to queue but come and do their shopping while waiting their turn to be served.
I am happy to announce that systems and equipment have already been set up at Menlyn Mall in Tshwane and we are ready to rollout in the first week of March 2023.
Yes Mr President, in three weeks’ time you may go to Menlyn and experience waiting to being served while you are doing your shopping. And I suggest that you take Mr Steenhuisen with you. He is making a lot of noise. He must go and see what delivery is. Please invite him when you go.
Immediately after officially opening this Menlyn Mall Pilot, we will go to Cresta Mall in Johannesburg, the Pavillion in eThekwini and Tygervalley here in Cape Town. We believe that all of those will be functional before the end of the coming financial year. That means this calendar year.
Mr President, we have been accused of acquiring very expensive space from rich Mall owners at a very high cost to the State. I want to mention here that for the next five years, we are not going to pay a single cent for rental because this project is mutualism. We bring people to come and do their shopping and the Malls give us space and other convenient facilities. So we both gain.
On the day that we will be opening Menlyn Mall we will also significantly expand the platform to acquire identification documents. We will be receiving 20 brand new mobile Home Affairs units, that means Home Affairs on wheels, to travel the length and breadth of the country giving people their identification documents.
We have already put an order for another 100 for the new financial year.
Presently we are at only 100 such vehicles. In essence this means we are increasing our mobile offices by 120%, and we are hoping to do so every year, at least for the next five years.
They are all fitted with in-built generators to deal with load shedding.
Mr President, we are on course in establishing the Border Management Authority (BMA). On the 14 July last year we deployed the first cohort of 200 Border Guards and we are awaiting funds from Treasury to add another 400.
We have been unjustifiably ridiculed by some dishonest and disinterested people. They claim that we are trying to isolate South Africa from the rest of the continent when we manage our borders. Surprisingly at the same time, we are being ridiculed for porous borders.
Mr President, every country I know of in the world is interested on what goes on at their borders - what is coming in and what is getting out. So we are not about to apologise to anybody for deploying Border Guards to do what other nations of the world are doing.
In the past festive season, from 7 December 2022 to January 2023, the Border Guards processed 4,037,415 cross border movements without any hurdle.
This time around, because the BMA exists, the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs did not have to go to the borders to do oversight. The media ,who were hiding at the borders waiting for the catastrophy in the form of chaotic congestion were phoning us grudgingly asking us what went wrong, why there were no problems at the borders especially Beit Bridge and Lebombo instead of asking what is it that which we have done right this time around.
Yes, we have deployed Border Guards.
Just this December, they confiscated:
- 2 236kg; of non-complying regulated agricultural products
- 4 120 pairs of counterfeit shoes
- 8 bars of copper
- 13 vehicles. If we count from July, 42 vehicles which were about to leave the country were intercepted.
- 11 containers of diesel of 20 litres each.
- They stopped 13 630 undocumented people who wanted to enter our country illegally.
Thank you very much.
ISSUED BY DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS