Good Afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media, welcome to the Department of Home Affairs Media Briefing. Since our last briefing, as you are aware, there has been a change in the political leadership of the Department, with Minister Naledi Pandor, having been appointed the new Minister of Home Affairs.
Since her assumption of the new office, the Minister has held a number of consultations with senior managers of the department with a view to familiarizing herself with the mandate of the department and to assess service delivery levels.
She has also paid unannounced visits to our Johannesburg and Cape Town Home Affairs offices where she interacted with both staff and members of the public. In this regard, the Minister will also be paying further visits to various ports of entry in anticipation of the high volumes of traveller movement during the festive season including preparations for the high number of football fans who will be visiting the country for the African Cup of Nations Cup scheduled for January-February 2013.
As you may be aware, the Minister is scheduled to return later today, Thursday 15 November from her visit to Doha, Qatar, where she is a member of the World Innovation Summit for Education’s Jury and was also invited to address the World Innovation Summit for Education on the issue of “Collaborating for Change”.
The World Innovation Summit for Education provides a global platform for debate and action in the field of education. It brings together over 1000 thought leaders, decision makers and practitioners from a variety of sectors, including education, business, politics, civil society, and the Media.
In its three years since its launch, the World Innovation Summit for Education has won international recognition for its promotion for innovative practices and for its growing list of collaborative projects which are improving the lives of many people through education.
This week witnessed several cases being brought by civil society against the department in respect of the Dalai Lama matter and the issue of illegal immigrants detained at our Lindela transit centre in Krugersdorp.
Firstly let me indicate that Minister Pandor hopes to visit the centre as soon as possible to interact with inmates and staff members. Details of this visit will be released to the media once arrangements have been finalized.
Secondly, Minister Pandor has established a mechanism to monitor the number of days each inmate spends in the transit centre with a view to ensuring that such persons do not exceed the 120 stipulated days allowed for detention under the immigration act.
In this context, we wish to indicate that the court case brought against the department by both Human Rights Commission and PASSOP was withdrawn in court on Tuesday 13 November 2012.
The withdrawal arose from the fact by the time the case was brought against the department, the 39 inmates on whose behalf the case was brought had already been released or deported.
We reiterate our view that the department will continue to enforce the observance of the immigrations laws of our country, within the framework of our constitution and in full compliance with international law and our international obligations.
The challenges that had previously led to inmates overstaying the stipulated 120 days arises from among others a deliberate attempt to subvert the law by refusing to supply officers at the transit centre with details of their origin and/or nationality.
Secondly, some embassies and high commissions have not been forthcoming to assist the department in identifying their nationals thus delaying the process of deportation. These issues are a matter of concern and continue to receive the attention of the Minister with a view to finding an amicable resolution to these challenges
As you aware, the government opposed the appeal brought by Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Mosioua Lekota against the Western Cape High Court ruling early this year. The Western Cape High Court found that the issues raised by both parties at the time were moot since the Dalai Lama had withdrawn his application for a visa to visit South Africa.
Accordingly, before the Minister could make a decision on the matter, the Dalai Lama had withdrawn his application and furthermore the events for which he wished to visit South Africa for, had already passed.
As matters stand, the matter was indeed heard at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Monday 12 November and judgement was reserved. Without seeking to undermine the sub-judice rule, we remain confident of the case we made in the court on the issue. We will thus await the decision of the court in this regard.
As you know South Africa will be hosting the African Cup Of Nations Tournament from January- February 2013. Once again the Department of Home Affairs, as part of government commitment to ensuring the successful hosting of the tournament, is preparing to facilitate the movement of a larger number of national teams, CAF officials and affiliates and soccer fans.
Accordingly, plans are afoot to ensure the efficient, secure and effective of movement of these members of football fraternity into our country to enjoy the hospitality of our people.
In this context, Home Affairs will be :
- Issuing visas to CAF officials and affiliates, national teams, soccer fans and media
- Create dedicated lanes with clear directional signage at identified ports entry such as OR Tambo, King Shaka international airports and priority land ports of entry.
- Deployment of the Movement of the Control System and the Advanced Passenger Processing Systems, legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, to ensure secure traveller movement in and out of the country.
- Building on the infrastructure that was developed for processing entry into and out of the country during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. This includes among others the Movement Control System launched during the 2010 FIFA World Cup
- Tthe issuance of work permits for CAF delegates, commercial affiliates and members of the media
As a department we are on course to helping South Africa host a successful AFCON 2013 utilising the experience acquired during the most beautiful spectacle on earth- the 2010 FIFA World Cup which South Africa successfully hosted.
AWARD OF VISIONARY CIO FOR 2012 TO HOME AFFAIRS DDG INFORMATION SERVICES
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure to conclude this press conference with the good news regarding one of Home Affairs DDGs Information Services, Mr. Sello Mmakau who has shown a mark of leadership by being awarded South Africa’s Visionary CIO for 2012.
This award was bestowed by the Computer Society of SA President’s in recognition of Mmakau’s contribution in modernizing our Home Affairs systems.” This award recognizes his as an executive who has demonstrated vision and leadership in using technology to support and grow business”.
In Home Affairs, Mr. Mmakau introduced the Online fingerprint verification system partnering the South African Banking Risk Centre, which enables banks to verify the identity of clients in reality time. Other projects include the piloting of the new Smart ID Card and the IT Modernisation Project which will help reduce the time taken to produce enabling documents such as ID’s and passports.
Released by Chief Directorate: Communication