Home Affairs award

2009-05-09 00:00

Home Affairs award

THE Home Affairs Department has won the Public Service Delivery to Citizens Award for projects improving online service delivery. Something of a laugh, this, in view of the recently released U. S. State Department’s “Country Reports on Terrorism 2008”, stating that South Africa’s Home Affairs Department, poorly administered and corrupt, last year issued thousands of fraudulent passports, identity documents and work permits. Coupled with inadequate security at South Africa’s physical borders, this affects our ability and efforts to counter terrorism, the report says.

We all know that Home Affairs often performs badly, with “service delivery to citizens” apparently low on its agenda. While some sections (passports, for example) seem reasonably competent, others (especially identity documents) are often chaotic, responsible for long delays and mistakes that damage, and even ruin, lives. But the American report indicates that the problem is far greater than domestic inconvenience.

For the U.S. wields great political and economic influence in Africa, and, according to local lawyer Gary Eisenberg, chair of the immigration and nationality committee of the International Bar Association, the negative report bodes ill for the building of security co-operation with South Africa’s most important trading partner.

These things show clearly that South Africa has, in the Western world’s opinion, become a weak security link, unable to keep tabs on its citizens, and unable to police its borders as is vital in the modern world. What’s to be done? Nothing short of a total clean-up, starting with a competent minister.

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