(Budget vote debate in Parliament: Home Affairs)
Considering the South African public's numerous complaints about the Department of Home Affairs' service delivery, a question that can be rightly asked is whether the Department is still in any way fulfilling its mandate as custodian, protector and verifier of the identity and status of citizens and other persons residing in the country.
All these functions are of the utmost importance as they enable the public to realise their rights and have access to benefits and opportunities in the public and private spheres.
The answer to the question is no, because the Department as well as its offices countrywide is not equipped to fulfil its mandate and is for the most part dysfunctional.
The Department’s functioning was already severely impaired even before the Covid-19 pandemic and the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have driven it to the very edge of utter ruin.
The additional damage done by poor governance, state capture and corruption to the Department's ability to comply with the Constitution's stipulations regarding its mandate is incalculable.
Although the operational budget of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is now R1,3 billion, which is R169,5 million or 15,5% more than the previous financial year, the IEC will only be able to host one registration weekend, instead of the customary two, in the runup to the local government elections scheduled to take place on the 27th of October this year.
South Africa's porous borders remain an unresolved problem as a large number of people from particularly Zimbabwe and Mozambique are freely entering the country.
The transborder smuggling of livestock, cigarettes and drugs has been occurring in broad daylight at Pella Mond in the Northern Cape for quite some time now.
On invitation from Namibian farmers, the FF Plus paid a visit to the place in Namibia where herds of livestock and even horses are driven across the border through the Orange River even though the Department is fully aware of the problem.
The FF Plus wants to thank the senior officials who have been of assistance in resolving crises regarding passports and border control.
Under these extraordinary circumstances, the Department must implement extraordinary measures so as to fulfil its constitutional mandate. At the moment, these measures are still lacking.