Home Affairs Minister Hengiwe Mkhize

Johannesburg - Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize on Friday was mum about the ongoing impasse between her and her director general Mkuseli Apleni. 

Speaking on the sidelines in Boksburg during a colloquium aimed at discussing plans to reposition Home Affairs Mkhize avoided questions about her DG, with spokesperson Thabo Mokgola saying they were advised to not speak on the matter.

The sudden silence by Mkhize comes within days of her labelling Apleni as 'delusional and unstable', after he filed an urgent court application in a bid to overturn his suspension which was effected last week without Mkhize giving reasons for her decision.

Apleni's arguments in court papers are centred on damming allegations against Mkhize which, among other things, include a dispute between him and the minister's son as well as a VVIP lounge at the OR Tambo International Airport for the Oppenheimer family.

Apleni maintains his suspension is invalid and unconstitutional.

It is unclear what Mkhize's counter-argument is on the claims made by Apleni but she has accused him of undermining internal processes.

Meanwhile, at the symposium held at the Birchwood Hotel, Mkhize said the objective of the summit was to engage and obtain as many views and perspectives as possible. 

"This will assist you to meaningfully contribute to our journey to reposition the Department of Home Affairs," she told those present.

Mkhize also said while Home Affairs was not established through an act of parliament and as a result, its full mandate and importance are not understood, the country still needed a department that would serve efficiently in a rapidly changing world.  

Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize speaks on ID documents for students. Video: Noni Mokati

"For any state to be safe, secure and well-managed, it must be able to identify all persons within its borders, know their civil and immigration status and control movement across borders. Only the DHA has the mandate and authority to manage identity and international migration, confirm your citizenship and record your birth, marriage and death."

The Minister also pointed out that some of her priorities leading up to 2018 would be to ensure the country's matriculants obtain their ID smart cards in time for their exams. To do this, she said her department would embark on a nationwide campaign.

Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba speaks on challenges within the health sector. Video: Noni Mokati

Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi echoed Mkhize's sentiments saying his department would work alongside Home Affairs to fast-track ID documents for learners. Lesufi also revealed that the department often found itself overstretched because it had to cater for learners flocking into the province to study.

Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize speaks on ideal turn around times for the issuing of IDs. Video: Noni Mokati

Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba welcomed the concept of Repositioning Home Affairs saying without an inefficient identity system in the country, programmes such as the National Health Insurance will not work.

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