During our most recent visit to Parliament we witnessed how the Minister of Home Affairs was informed about her new role in the cabinet.

We regularly attend Home Affairs portfolio sessions when parliament is in session. They are accessable to the public and often enable us to hear first hand and understand the issues our Ministry of Home Affairs ist struggling with. During such visits it is occasional possible to engage with the Minister or other high-ranking officials.

During our attendance on tuesday, Jacob Zuma announced that Minster of Home Affairs Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize will replace minister of higher education Mr Blade Nzimande.

From our perception, Prof Mkhize was not aware of this second reshuffle within one year, since she was frantically staring at her cellphone during the meeting.

It appeared that the president did not inform her about her new role before. She was only in charge of the Department of Home Affairs for a bit more then 5 months.

The meeting was kicked off with the topic of corrupt officials.

In the battle against corrupt officials, the DHA introduced a ‘consequence management’. ‘Consequence management’ stands for the removal of accused officials from their tasks, i.e. committed fraud and wrongdoing will be dealt with. The former DG Apleni was the most prominent person effected by this new policy. In the recent past, 21 immigration officers at the border control have been removed.

The next topic was border management.

According to witnesses and experts South Africas ‘ borders are insufficiently secured. Especially in unfenced areas, immigrants without documentation are still able to enter South Africa undetected. Participants reported their observations from the border to the landlocked country Lesotho. Not only have female citizens from Lesotho crossed the border to South Africa to give birth to their children here and therefore obtain South African birth certificates for social benefits, but other nationals such as Chinese or Indian citizens also take advantage from the rather unprotected borders.

Lastly, the DHA is still facing infrastructural and regional issues in South Africa:

Due to the long distances and increasing poverty, applicants are sometimes still not able to visit offices of the DHA in person or pay the required amounts for applications or for instance paternity tests. For this purpose, the DHA will make more frequent use of its mobile offices to provide services also to remote areas.

The next portfolio session will however take place with a new Minister of Home Affairs.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice regarding immigration & visa, setting up business, property transfer & investment.

by Andreas Krensel