Cape Town, Parliament, 30 May 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs yesterday recommended that government must utilize Government Printing Works (GPW) as the preferred printer of secure government documents.
This decision is based on the need to secure all government documentation, protect the state’s intellectual property and promote accountability and efficiency. The committee highlighted that secure printing is essential in maintaining the integrity of documentation and thus a reflection of how government prints its documentation is necessary.
Meanwhile, the committee welcomed the intention to reposition the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) from a purely administrative department to a strategic, secure and capacitated department to enable economic development.
The committee remains of the view that the DHA is on the frontline of securing South Africa’s sovereignty and stability, by ensuring that they produce secure documents. Secondly, for economic growth to be realised, the department plays an integral role in vetting and simplifying regulations to foster foreign direct investment. “We are therefore of the view that for the department to achieve this strategic role it must modernise, both in terms of technology and process flow, to be in line with international best practise,” said Advocate Bongani Bongo, the Chairperson of the committee.
The intention to modernise and integrate the information and technology (IT) system is welcomed. Successive Portfolio Committees on Home Affairs have raised the necessity of improving the IT system and ensuring a stable network, which are integral in order for the DHA to enable e-government. To this end, the committee has urged the department to work closely with the State Information and Technology Agency to ensure a collaborative effort and eliminate any teething problems.
The committee welcomes the intention to establish a Home Affairs College, which will enable the DHA to retrain/reskill its employees. The committee welcomes this development in the context that currently 60% of the DHA staff don’t have a post-matric qualification. “The college will improve efficiency and will hopefully reduce high litigation against the department. The committee has urged the department to include programmes, such as customer satisfaction as part of learning programmes in the college,” Adv Bongo emphasised.
The committee notes the intention to enhance the security capacity of the DHA to be in-line with the new security mandate and in a position to mitigate against risk. This move is necessary in safeguarding the integrity of the documents produced by DHA.
Meanwhile, the committee welcomes progress in ensuring that the department is guided by a coherent policy and legal framework through the development of the DHA Act, which is a necessary legal instrument that will enable the department to be repositioned as a secure, modern department, located within the security system.
The committee welcomes the intention to have some of the department’s services available 24 hours, year-round. This will improve the speed in which the department delivers its services. The committee has called on the department to engage employee unions in a consultation process aimed at agreeing on common objectives.
Finally, the committee welcomes the implementation plan developed by the department and has urged the department to work earnestly towards adhering to the delivery dates. The committee will, in line with its oversight mandate, monitor the progress in implementing the plan.