Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. All protocol observed.
Thank you for attending this media briefing, at a very busy time for all of us, including for your good selves.
Today we are presenting to Parliament, the budget of the Department Home Affairs, that is, Vote 5. A pre-budget media briefing is quite a challenge; because we say what is in the Budget Speech without saying it.
We will account on commitments made in the last financial year, highlighting successes, challenges and next steps.
I trust we will obtain buy-in from Parliament, on how we plan to take Home Affairs to even greater heights. To this end;
Firstly, we will drive the repositioning of this department, to ensure that we are able to deliver fully on our mandate. On 19 May 2017 a Discussion Paper on Repositioning the Department of Home Affairs will be gazetted for public comment. This will inform drafting of a White Paper to provide a policy framework for future DHA legislation, including an act defining its purpose in a democratic state.
Secondly, we will complete the review of South Africa’s international migration policy. Reviewing and updating immigration policy is critical because it guides how we manage entry, sojourn and departure from the country, best to interact with the rest of the world, in the interest of the nation, its security and prosperity.
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 The new, 2017 White Paper replaces the outdated 1999 White Paper which doesn’t speak to current challenges of globalisation, migration and national priorities set-out in the National Development Plan, Vision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, better to align them to our goals of using migration for development.
For instance we will be able to say how best we are to benefit from emigration, how best we are to tap into the global pool of critical skills and how best we are to integrate and benefit from the socio-economic contribution of migrants in the country. The new policy will guide also how best to manage labour from the SADC region.
Thirdly, we want to see a Border Management Authority (BMA) finally established, for better, integrated management of ports of entry and the borderline. The BMA Bill is currently being processed by Parliament.
Fourthly, we will accelerate modernisation of Home Affairs systems, processes and human resources, for enhanced client satisfaction. 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 secured smart ID cards. A total of 6.8 million cards have been issued.
Fifthly, we will complete refurbishing infrastructure of the major land ports of entry, as these are strategic for risk-based immigration management and professionalization of services, thus 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.
In the final analysis, a major task of democratic South Africa is driving radical socio-economic transformation. Every instrument of state machinery therefore needs to be mobilized behind this noble goal of radical socio-economic transformation. Therefore, it is very critical, and strategic, to shape management of national identity and international migration such that it contributes to economic development, growth and prosperity.
I thank you.
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ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS