Department of Home Affairs visa backlog is up by 20 000 in 6 months

Issued by Angel Khanyile MP – DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
30 Apr 2024 in News

Note to edits: Please find attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Visa backlog has increased from 74 000 in August 2023 to 92 000 as of 16 February 2024. This is an increase of just under 20 000 in about 6 months. Download the Parliamentary question and answer here.

The increase goes against what the Minister told the Home Affairs Parliamentary Committee in March 2023. The Committee was told that the DHA would be appointing officials, with the necessary qualifications to assist with the backlog. Yet the backlog just keeps getting worse.

Furthermore, despite claims that the DHA would prioritise visitor visas, the number of visitor visas for spouses married to South Africans is sitting at a 41 083 backlog. The highest of all the visa categories. The second highest, sitting at 18 661 is the relative’s visas. The Minister claims that this is due to challenges concerning the legitimacy of the relationship being claimed.

The Minister continues to re-use this line but is unable to state what is being done to address the issue. Why is nothing being done to fix this situation and why in this day and age is it so hard for the DHA to verify a marriage? The DHA seems to be adamant about remaining in the dark ages.

The DHA needs to stop making excuses, like a broken record, and get their house in order. Countless people, legitimately married, are having their lives torn apart and their right to dignity violated. The dysfunction within the Department of Home Affairs is at a crisis point. Not only are the backlogs leading to an increase in litigation at the taxpayer’s expense, but the backlogs have created ample opportunity for corruption to thrive and fraudulent documents to be issued to undeserving people.

The Department has added just under 20 0000 new visa applications to its backlog pile, clearly showing an inability of the DHA, under the leadership of Minister Motsoaledi to tackle the backlog and corruption issues. The Minister has had five years to deal with these problems, but things are only getting worse.

We call on South Africans to vote for a DA government that will bring the DHA out of the dark ages, implement fair and efficient processes, and tackle both corruption and backlogs at the DHA head-on.