Improving efficiencies

After years of strong criticism over corruption and incompetence, the Department of Home Affairs seems finally to be on the road to redeeming itself.

Few will share our optimism over the department's turnaround strategy that is slowly yielding a measure of success.

Of course, past experience informs us otherwise - except that the department's own candid assessment of its weakness has given it a new start.

Much credit should go to Mavuso Msimang, the department's director-general, who has seized on the task of improving efficiencies with welcome single-minded purposefulness.

More than 200 officials have been charged with corruption in a major internal shake-up in the past two years, according to the department.

The suspects, some of whom have been suspended and dismissed, include those who produced fraudulent identity documents, birth and death certificates and passports.

Efforts to get rid of bad apples in the department should help clean up its image in the long term. But much work lies ahead if the department is to rid itself of the dubious distinction of being the most inept of the government's organs.

Scores of South African citizens are still without proper identity documents. Complaints abound about many receiving the wrong IDs almost daily.

We hope these lapses will disappear over time as the winds of change sweep through the department.