Calls for comments on Home Affairs White Paper

(Supplied)
(Supplied)

The Department of Home Affairs has called for comments on the White Paper on Home Affairs, which proposes changes to the department's operations, strategy and legislation.

The paper proposes solutions to the department's "challenges", including long queues at its centres and staff shortages, as well as changes to immigration policy. It also proposes the establishment of a National Identity System (NIH) to replace the National Population Registry.

Written comments are to be submitted before February 18. At a press briefing on Sunday, home affairs minister Siyabonga Cwele said the white paper seeks to find "sustainable solutions" to problems facing the department, including long queues, staff shortages, infrastructure problems, office space, connectivity and networks.

This is part of the department's "repositioning" strategy for 2019, which seeks to modernise the department's operations, he said.

"The White Paper does not change the mandate of Home Affairs, but for the first time its full mandate is clearly set out," he said, adding that the first mandate of the department is to manage the official identity and status of people.

The department wants the population registry to be replaced by the NIS which will reflect data relating to identity, and civic and immigration statuses of people, Cwele said.

"In a digital age, the NIS will be the backbone of a more integrated modern state that provides citizens and other clients fast access to efficient services. It will thus be a powerful enabler of inclusive economic development and will drastically reduce fraud and other related crimes," he said.

The White Paper will also deal with issues related to immigration, and will incorporate the 2017 White Paper on Integration Migration, Cwele said.

"The envisioned end-state is the replacement of the old, legacy model and its replacement with a world-class government department that is properly resourced," he said. 

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