Cape Town: Parliament, 25 May 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs will on Wednesday, 27 May 2020, visit the Legal Service Unit of the Department of Home Affairs to assess the effectiveness of the Unit in handling the litigation of the department.
The visit was triggered by the Western Cape High Court Judgement in the matter between the City of Cape Town vs Balus and others. Also, the visit was necessitated by the realisation that the department’s Unit was inadequately staffed, a problem that grossly affects the speed with which the department’s Legal Unit processes its work.
Attorneys and foreign nationals are capitalising on such delays and some of them are opportunistically scooping money from the department, and all that is attributable to the backlogs as a result of the shortage of staff and other factors in the department.
In the judgement, Judge Thulare, explicitly said: “Adv Bongo and the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs owe Legal Services Unit of DHA in Pretoria a visit to fully appraise themselves in order to support the Minister and the Director-General.”
In compliance with the order of Acting Judge Thulare, the Chairperson of the committee, Adv Bongani Bongo, said: “We saw it obligatory that we attend to the matter with the urgency it deserves to visit the department’s Legal Unit to address concerns around the work of the Unit. The previous committee had also raised concerns over the ever-increasing legal liabilities facing the department.”
As part of its programme the committee will also assess the unit’s human resource component against the workload which is on its shoulders. Furthermore, the committee will, with the department, reflect on the department’s strategies that are in place to mitigate the legal challenges to avert the high legal liabilities.
“It remains unacceptable that the department has to divert the limited resources for the delivery of essential services that are at its disposal towards legal liabilities. We are hopeful that the planned Wednesday interaction will yield positive results,” Adv Bongo said.