HOME AFFAIRS 'far from a failure'



In a report we carried last Thursday, we argued that Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula should be fired because, after five years in the job she has failed to stem corruption over IDs, failed to handle the refugee situation correctly, and failed to efficiently run the finances of her department.

The article followed a call by the ANC in Parliament for the minister to be stripped of her responsibility as political head of the department. Committee chair Patrick Chauke said the department had been given R1billion to turn itself around "but every year we are going backward".

Our report further said this meant the department would be under the tutelage of Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi.


The following are excerpts taken from a letter to Sowetan by Mike Ramagoma, advisor to the Minister of Home Affairs:

Having been part of the meeting of the parliamentary portfolio committee of 22 October 2008, the assertion in Sowetan dated 23 October 2008 that the ANC decided to call in Finance and Public Service and Administration ministers to take over the Home Affairs Department is incorrect.

For the record, Minister Mapisa-Nqakula, in 2006 called for the national Treasury to investigate the financial situation of the Department of Home Affairs and propose remedial action. The national Treasury has been helping the department address limitations in its financial management since 2006, including during the period of the current audit.

The minister also established a high-level intervention task team of director generals from Treasury, and others, the report of which she acted swiftly on.

The job of transforming an organisation as complex as Home Affairs requires extraordinary effort rather than quick fixes and unrealistic time frames.

Far from being "a failure" as your article implies, the TurnAround effort is now able to claim many spectacular results.

At the beginning of 2008, when we started implementing it, it took longer than 180 days to produce an ID. Now our average time is consistently below 40 days.