Home Affairs lost 77 years’ worth of working hours in 5 years

Issued by Adrian Roos MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
17 Apr 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Adrian Roos MP

The DA has been inundated with complaints that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) systems are offline, resulting in long queues and delayed processing of documents.

Through questions posed to the Minister, the DA can now reveal that the DHA has lost over 77 years’ worth of working hours due to system downtime and load-shedding from 2019 to date. Concerningly, this data only relates to hours lost for the application of smart IDs, meaning decades more of working hours could have been additionally lost in other spheres such as passport or visa applications.

The lost hours are largely due to system downtime, surpassing load-shedding. In the 2022/2023 financial year, where we experienced extensive load-shedding, system downtime was the cause of 41 691 hours lost (17 years), whereas load-shedding caused around 9 322 hours lost (4 years) at DHA civic offices on the production of smart IDs.

The DHA was quick to blame the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) which provides the DHA with ICTS support, including networking. While SITA may be partly responsible for the lost hours, what is interesting to note is that SITA’s connectivity reports for the DHA show that connectivity has increased to the DHA to an average of 99.5% in 2023/2024, but the DHA’s hours lost due to system downtime continue to increase.

For comparison in August 2021, the DHA noted in Committee that their service agreement with SITA provided for 95% connectivity. So why, with the improved connectivity, are hours still lost to system downtime? Are officials pulling the plugs?

The DA has written to the Minister to demand a proper investigation into the lost hours and why they continue to increase. The DA has also demanded that the Minister publicly state how the DHA intends to make up for the 77 years’ worth of hours lost. Lastly, we will be following up with the Minister on our request to make available on their website which offices are down so that people do not have to waste time and money traveling to that Home Affairs office only to find it is offline.

The hours lost continue to result in persons being unable to collect their ID documents due to unmanageable queues and delayed processing times. In a crucial time when we are getting ready to cast our votes for the next leaders of the country, some citizens wait with panic as to whether they will receive their IDs in time to exercise their constitutionally enshrined right.

The ANC doesn’t have a plan to help these citizens, further entrenching the fact that they are nothing more than manipulators who do not care about the rights of South Africans.