A high level intervention committee of several directors general has been given six months to overhaul the embattled Home Affairs Department and to immediately fix whatever problems they encounter.

Home affairs spokesperson Cleo Mosana said on Thursday: "This is for the smoother running of Home Affairs, we implement as we go along."

The steering committee comprises the directors general of Home Affairs, National Treasury, Public Service and Administration, the Public Service Commission and the Accountant General.

It was set up last week to facilitate the intervention process.

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula recently invoked clauses of the Public Finance Management Act and asked the Treasury to intervene and investigate the shortcomings in her department.

She invited the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to assist.

Her requests came after she was hauled before a parliamentary Home Affairs committee to answer serious questions regarding the functioning of her department.

She also had to answer on the findings of a fourth successive qualified audit report, the latest with a disclaimer from Auditor-General, Shauket Fakie.

Mosana said on Thursday that the steering committee would investigate Home Affairs operations in different regions and foreign offices as part of the process.

She said the Public Service Commission's director general, Odette Ramsingh, would drive the intervention on a full-time basis.

Ramsingh was expected to be based in the Department of Home Affairs for the first three months.

Mosana said the steering committee would meet every week and a committee of ministers, made up of Mapisa-Nqakula and her counterparts from the National Treasury and the DPSA, would be briefed once a month.

Mosana admitted her department could not make excuses all the time: "Mapisa-Nqakula inherited a department with a lot of challenges. It's a learning curve for her too. The sooner the better we put in corrective measures. We can't always say we inherited the problem."

Mosana said the intervention team would develop a plan to address the issues raised by Fakie, specifically those that led to a disclaimer for the 2004/05 financial year.

National Treasury would investigate the department's financial management and assist in setting up systems for the management of its financial resources.

Mosana said it was a "highly focused short-term intervention" and the various parties were there to "align processes".

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