The Department of Home Affairs is working with the Treasury to get exemption from having to use the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) for its online services to solve its IT problems. File picture.
The Department of Home Affairs is working with the Treasury to get exemption from having to use the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) for its online services to solve its IT problems. File picture.

Our original sin at Home Affairs is the IT system, says Minister Aaron Motsoaledi

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Jun 15, 2021

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Cape Town - The Department of Home Affairs is working with the Treasury to get exemption from having to use the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) for its online services to solve its IT problems.

The exemption would allow the department to source IT services privately.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi revealed this in response to a query from provincial premier and constitutional committee chairperson Ricardo Mackenzie during a debate at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Motsoaledi said: “Our original sin at Home Affairs is the IT system. Every day when I go to work, this is the original sin I am trying to resolve.

“We did away with the manual system and introduced the live capture system about eight years ago.

“We are going to make inroads because we have actually identified why for instance the SA Revenue Service (Sars) doesn’t suffer from systems down like we do. We have actually identified it is because Sars has been exempted from getting these services through Sita. We are working with the Treasury to do the same.”

Mackenzie said that communities across the Western Cape were continuing to experience slow and poor service delivery from Home Affairs.

“Community members of my constituency in Mitchells Plain brought a number of issues including consistent errors in ID documents, loss of documentation by the department and delays in issuing visas and processing residency for foreign nationals.”

He also said that the retention/refugee letters issuing section of Home Affairs had yet to reopen since it was closed in March last year and that this meant people were often incorrectly being deemed illegal in this country.

Mackenzie said he would continue to monitor the situation and would hold Motsoaledi to his word.

Earlier in the year Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs also said it was disappointed in the department’s failure to resolve its IT challenges.

The committee said it was concerned that the IT issues continue to hamper the department’s ability to deliver quality services and that the long queues at the department’s offices pose a high risk of being Covid-19 super-spreader sources.

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Cape Argus

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