The Minister of Home Affairs presented her budget vote speech to Parliament on 25 April 2012. Priorities for the Department include taking the next step that will move South Africa away from the dreaded apartheid “dompass” form of identification and the belittling and undignified service by Home Affairs official that characterised the “dompass” era.
Two steps towards this transformation include the piloting of a new Smart ID Card in 2012 and ensuring that all Home Affairs officials serve all South Africans with dignity, respect, honesty, dedication and discipline. This means that Home Affairs will strive to ensure that no person should return home from Home Affairs offices without having received the service they have come, often a long distance, to access.
The Smart Card is central to the new National Identity System and will replace all current civic and immigration identity systems. It will allow the Department digitally to capture biometric and biographical details of South Africans and foreign nationals which will be stored in one integrated system.
The Minister reiterated the legal obligation to parents to register the birth of the child within thirty days of birth and applauded the 556,762 people who duly did so in 2011. This amounts to almost 51% of total births in that period. Equally, it means that 49% of new births are not being registered within the prescribed period of time. A school-based project secured the issue of 48,624 identification documents for children who had turned 16 years of age. The Minister committed to continue working closely with Stakeholder Forums to reach out to those without IDs, especially in remote areas, farms and institutions.
Access to services was improved with the opening of four new offices in rural areas and the refurbishment of nineteen offices during 2011/12 and the deployment of mobile offices.
The Department has also introduced a SAQA approved course for the retraining of all Home Affairs officials to ensure they are knowledgeable of all aspects of the departments’ work.
The department will continue to strengthen its immigration management and will gazette an immigration policy document that will “present a coherent set of proposals for discussion by both stakeholders as well as members of the public.”
WEB LINKS FOR THIS ARTICLE