17 May 2017

South Africa: Home Affairs Fast Tracks Modernisation of Systems

Pretoria — Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize says her department will put more emphasis on the modernisation of Home Affairs systems, processes and human resources to improve its service offering.

Addressing the media in Cape Town, ahead of her department's Budget Vote, Minister Mkhize said a major task in this regard is to replace the old National Population Register with a new National Identity System (NIS).

"The modernisation programme has also entailed replacing around 38 million green-barcoded ID books with secure smart ID cards. A total of 6.8 million cards have been issued," the Minister said on Wednesday.

Revamping ports of entry

The Minister said Home Affairs will complete the refurbishing of infrastructure at the major land ports of entry, as these are strategic for risk-based immigration management to make South Africa friendly for business, travel and related activities.

"We will strengthen our all-out fight against corruption, bribery and fraud and motivate officials through the Moetapele (Leadership) initiative," the Minister said.

Under the Moetapele Leadership Initiative, launched by then Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, the department will improve the performance of officials who serve the public directly to ensure that they serve efficiently and effectively, with courtesy and good manners.

With regard to the mooted Border Management Authority (BMA), Minister Mkhize said work is underway to finalise its establishment. The BMA will allow for better integrated management of ports of entry and the borderline.

The BMA Bill is currently being processed by Parliament.

Government wants to establish the agency to ensure coordination of and cooperation among the departments operating at land, sea and air ports of entry and along the country's borders.

The agency is expected to enhance national security and public safety and to enable the efficient flow of legitimate travellers and goods.

Minister Mkhize said Cabinet approved the White Paper on International Migration in March this year.

"The new 2017 White Paper replaces the outdated 1999 White Paper, which doesn't speak to the current challenges of globalisation, migration and national priorities set out in the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.

"The new White Paper is important, as it will provide a policy framework for amending immigration and refugee legislation to better align them to our goals of using migration for development," the Minister said.

According to the Minister, the new policy will guide on how best to manage labour from the Southern African Development Community region.

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