The DA welcomes the support of the Minister of Communications, Khumbudzo Ntshaveni, for our call to address the real issues causing Home Affairs system downtime.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Home Affairs met on Tuesday to review progress on the issue of long queues outside Home Affairs offices after the DA’s relentless pressure on the issue.
The DA highlighted the alarming fact that only 35 offices out of 691 have a backup link and it was confirmed that Home Affairs is the only major Government Department to not have dual communication links to all their offices.
This means that if one form of network goes down then the system cannot be accessed and Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, has been sleeping on the issue since 2019 when it was raised.
Minister Ntshaveni has gone on to challenge Minister Motsoaledi to match their significant investment on the State Information Technology Agency’s network with investment in its own Home Affairs network in order to resolve the system offline issue.
A report which served before the committee highlighted that over 90% of incidents of Home Affairs systems downtime are caused by issues inside Home Affairs offices as a result of outdated equipment where 88% of network equipment is obsolete.
The potential revenue lost every time the system is offline will more than cover the costs of upgrading these devices and putting in place a backup link to the Home Affairs system, and should finance not be immediately available there must at least be a phased roll-out.
The DA has brought home the urgency of the matter in that South Africans who are forced to stand for hours outside Home Affairs offices, and emphasized the importance of interventions that bring relief to as many as possible as soon as possible.
The joint Department of Communications and Home Affairs plan is expected to be tabled before Parliament rises at the end of the year.
If we do not solve the real issues causing Home Affairs system downtime we will get nowhere. The DA will continue to fight for the right to dignity for all South Africans until the ‘war on queues’ is won.