Tuesday, 08 September 2021
Cape Town: The speedy finalisation of disciplinary cases and implementation of consequence management remain central in instituting a culture of intolerance to corruption and fraud within the Home Affairs Department, Parliament says.
“While we welcome the implementation of the Counter Corruption and Fraud Prevention Strategy, the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs underscored that it is only through effective consequence management that the department will successfully win the war against malfeasance,” committee chairperson, Mosa Chabane said.
The committee received an update on the department’s initiatives to counter fraud and corruption.
Chabane commended the suspension of five officials as a result of a Public Protector report, as well as the 215 arrests that have been effected since the inception of Operation Bvisa Masina in 2015. The arrests included 123 Home Affairs officials, 84 syndicate members and eight South African Police Service members.
While acknowledging that the justice processes can be arduous due to various reasons, the committee said there is a need to conclude internal disciplinary processes quicker to ensure consequence management.
The committee also expressed its appreciation to Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who reported that he is engaging with Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, with the aim of enabling him to charge an official that left Home Affairs for the Sport, Arts and Culture Department.
“We commend the action by the Minister, especially in the context of the worrying trend of officials that resign from one department when facing disciplinary cases, only to reappear in another department. The actions by the Minister will ensure that any official accused of wrongdoing is taken through the necessary process.
“The cooperation with law enforcement agencies is welcomed but must be strengthened at all times to close any gaps that might be exploited by criminals working together with officials of the department,” Chabane said.
The committee welcomed news that the department is performing at an average of above 70% in relation to investigating reported cases of fraud and corruption within 90 days, which will ensure the speedy resolution of cases.
“The committee has also committed, from time-to-time, to request updates on the disciplinary cases within the department,” Chabane said.
Despite this, the committee raised concerns regarding the slow turnaround times in vetting officials, as per the security requirements.
The committee called on the State Security Agency to increase its capability to ensure that vetting is done adequately within a reasonable time to prevent any unwanted elements from accessing the department’s service points.
Regarding security at Home Affairs offices, the committee said the lack of cameras and electronic monitoring systems is a longstanding concern, which affects the department’s ability to safeguard its systems.
The committee noted the financial challenges faced by the department and the entire public service in ensuring effective funding for programmes. The committee has urged the department to find workable solutions in order to meets its objectives.
Review process of visas and permits
Regarding the review process of visas and permits, the committee called on Motsoaledi to table a report whenever it is available to enable the committee to appraise itself on its findings and recommendations aimed at improving the permit system.