UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION FINDS
HOME AFFAIRS A MESS

STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZé VAN WYK, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR HOME AFFAIRS

The Batho Pele and Management Audit Investigations of Home Affairs in the latest Public Service Commission report is such a serious charge against the Minister and the Department that the UDM calls on President Mbeki to remove Minister Buthelezi from his position. If President Mbeki does not take serious and decisive action he will make a mockery of his own promises of delivery. After seven years in this position, the political appointment of Minister Buthelezi should now make way for efficiency. The Department, even during the previous dispensation, has been renowned for its ineffectiveness. In seven years the Minister has been unable to turn around the situation and even though one thought it not possible, the situation deteriorated.

Just a few of the issues that the Public Service Commission highlights in its report are that:

  • The Department performs below standard as measured against its own published service standards.

  • The Department is experiencing serious staff shortages. (This is not to say that the Department is really understaffed).

  • Both staff morale and work ethic in the Department are low.

  • An average sick leave figure of 10,6 days per person for 1999 at a cost of R10 million to the Department was recorded.

  • 30% of personnel assessments are still outstanding.

  • The Anti-Corruption Unit lacks capacity, was unable to deliver on its mandate, no job descriptions exist for the members of this unit.

In terms of services rendered some of the most important results that highlight the lack of service delivery are:

  • In 1999 31% of first time issued ID documents took 3 months to process. In February 2 000 that figure increased to 64% of first time ID documents.

  • Only 10% of permanent residence permits applications are finalised within the standard time frame of 8 weeks. While 37% of applications take 2-4 months and 20% up to 9 months.

For the past nineteen months the UDM has on numerous occasions highlighted the fact that the Department of Home Affairs is in shambles and that it does not succeed in fulfilling its basic services to the citizens of South Africa. At the delivery of the budgets we have again and again reasoned that the Department is under funded. The Department and the Minister have viciously denied this.

This Department is vital in the planning of every single other Department in government. Social Development, Safety and Security and Education are but a few of the Departments that depend on information of this Department to do their own strategic planning.

Those who suffer the most from the Department’s inability to deliver remain the poorest of the poor. In rural areas people have to travel more than 400 kilometres to reach the nearest Home Affairs office in order to register a birth or a death. This situation must be overturned once and for all. Minister Buthelezi clearly does not have the ability or the will to turn the situation around. President Mbeki has the responsibility to do what is necessary.

Enquiries:

Annelizé van Wyk, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Home Affairs

Cape Town
6 April 2001