defiant Nosiviwe digs in her heels

Anna Majavu

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has dug in her heels, saying she will not allow the Treasury and Public Services and Administration department to clean up her department.

On Wednesday parliament's home affairs portfolio committee resolved that the Treasury and Department for Public Services and Administration be brought in to intervene in the chaos in Mapisa-Nqakula department.

But a defiant Mapisa-Nqakula told parliament yesterday "we will not accept the recommendation".

"Yes, we have challenges", she said. "But we have whittled down queries in the audit report from 24 to six.

"The amounts involved [in these queries] led to our being given a disclaimer but it is not because we made no attempt to change.

"When we needed their services [of the DPSA and Treasury] we came to the portfolio committee and solicited support.

"They came in and did the investigation, which led to our securing the consultants who came in to help turn the department around.

"We have seen changes as a result of the presence of the consultants."

Meanwhile, the Department of Home Affairs' credibility was dented further on Wednesday.

This was when the Cape high court ruled that the department's instruction that its offices not renew Section 22 permits to asylum seekers was unlawful.

These permits allow asylum seekers to remain legally in South Africa, while waiting for Home Affairs to decide whether to grant them refugee status or not.

The Cape high court ordered Home Affairs to "immediately renew the Section 22 permits of all asylum seekers on application pending the processing and finalisation of their applications for asylum".

Two weeks ago the Treatment Action Campaign called for Mapisa-Nqakula to be axed in the wake of her directive that asylum seekers would no longer be allowed to renew their Section 22 permits.