Cape Town – Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu has found progress in managing undocumented immigrants by the Home Affairs Department that had regressed to a point that there was no leadership and oversight.
This emerged in Makwetu’s performance audit report that looked into immigration of undocumented immigrants, which was recently tabled in Parliament.
The audit was a follow-up to two others undertaken by his office in 2000 and 2007.
Makwetu said the latest audit evaluated the department’s progress in managing the immigration process since 2007 with a focus on whether previous findings still existed. “It revealed findings similar to the previous audits and, in some instances, a regression in the environment.”
The audit looked at undocumented immigrants from the their entry into the country to their arrest and deportation.
“During this process, many individuals apply for asylum and remain in the country indefinitely, pending the final decision on their status,” Makwetu said.
In his report, Makwetu said although Home Affairs was responsible for managing population movement across South African borders, border management was exercised and influenced by multiple organs of state.
This had prompted the Cabinet in 2013 to resolve to establish the Border Management Agency and a bill enacting the agency had not been passed.
“The delay in finalising the bill resulted in the organs of state that perform the functions of their individual mandates at ports of entry not being co-ordinated effectively. The delay can be attributed to lack of buy-in by the organs of state,” Makwetu said.
He found that Home Affairs did not have a policy on transporting undocumented immigrants.
“Securing service providers through the three-quotation system delayed the transport of individuals by up to nine weeks,” he said.
Makwetu also said his previous report had revealed that the deportation budget was not sufficient to deport undocumented immigrants.
He said Home Affairs experienced staff shortages at ports of entry and its head office, with other challenges including out-dated equipment and poorly maintained infrastructure.
In his report, Makwetu said relevant stakeholders for border management control should improve their co-ordination to reduce the number of undocumented immigrants entering.
The department noted Makwetu’s report and recommendations, saying it had implemented a number of initiatives to address the findings.