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Home Affairs faces funding challenges amid push for modernisation

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Newly-elected Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs chairperson Bongani Bongo in a statement on Tuesday called on the department to find innovative ways to mitigate funding pressures it and its entities faced.

The committee highlighted that funding challenges were a reality for all departments, but it said this challenge presented an opportunity to innovate and find workable solutions to ensure effective service delivery.

“The committee is cognisant that diminishing revenue as compared to increasing demands for services are putting unavoidable pressures on the department and its entities. Today, the department and its entities briefed the committee on its Annual Performance Plan,” it said in the statement.

Read: A South African’s guide to surviving the dreaded Home Affairs queue

‘Funding challenges should not harm service delivery’

Bongo also welcomed the department’s plans to modernise and enhance its security and professionalism. In addition, he said:

“The committee also values the intention to strengthen Public-Private Partnerships with banks to expand the footprint of the department as this will ensure service delivery is taken to the doorsteps of South Africans.”

The committee called for strong intergovernmental relations with key departments and parastatals such as Public Works and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), with a focus on improving the lives of all people in South Africa.

“The department must ultimately reach a level of service delivery acceptable to all. The committee will in its oversight place focus on ensuring that the department offers quality services which include reduction of downtime of IT systems and overall improvement of quality of services,” it said.

“The digitisation and modernisation of Home Affairs is also critical in enhancing the security of the national identity system.

The Committee has also called for the strengthening of programmes to combat fraud and corruption within the department which have the potential to expose the national population register to external threats.”

Home Affairs pushes for modernisation

It said that the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC’s) plans to improve the electoral process using the recent general elections as a measure for areas of improvement required.

“The plans to replace the outdated Zip-Zip machines with new online voter registration technology, the updating of the voters roll as per the Constitutional Court ruling as well as increased voter education” were all on the cards.

The committee also welcomed the announcement by the IEC that they will conduct public hearings from August 2019 to conclude the regulations which are necessary to implement the Political Party Funding Act as ascended into law by the President. The committee emphasised the need to conclude the regulation process to ensure that the act is implemented.

It also called on the government to use the Government Printing Works (GPW) as the main printer in all government departments to save costs and eliminate wastage in the present economic climate. the committee called for government-wide utilisation of GPW as the main printer to eliminate wastage, especially with its financial challenges.

By African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay.

(Source: The South African)

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