Address Delivered by the Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the Department of Home Affairs Conference on Foreign Offices Operations, at the Birchwood Hotel Conference Centre, 6 February 2006

Minister of Home Affairs, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula,
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,
Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana,
Minister of Trade and Industry, Mandisi Mpahlwa,
Directors General,
Chief Executive Officers of various companies,
Distinguished guests,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Congratulations on this important conference which can only serve to improve the performance of the department and facilitate greater intergovernmental co-ordination. Many of us have not always understood the strategic nature of this department as a political, social and economic department.

Home Affairs is there when you are

(1) born,
(2) when you graduate from being a minor to an adult
(3) when you get married or
(4) divorce and when you
(5) travel in and outside your country and
(6) when you die.

An error at any of these critical points in life can be devastating, traumatic and even destiny changing to an individual and or family.

Home Affairs is key for the:

(1) efficiency of movement of goods and services.
(2) It can impact positively on our exports and therefore significant earnings for the country,
(3) frustrate import of essential goods and services, movement of people be they are tourists, families and business.

In each case a mistake can be very costly emotionally, financially and politically.

Home Affairs is also a key security department, our national security depends very much on how we manage our borders, so that only those we want are within our borders, and those we seek to detain and keep in check within our borders must not leave our shores without our knowledge.

Those of you who are stationed overseas are part of our frontline staff and therefore the face of our nation, how you deal with people and with how you render services makes us a losing or a winning nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a key department for the success of Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa.

Your workshop follows State of the Nation Address (SONA) where the President has unveiled to the nation ASGISA.

Your department is one of our crucial department for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Skills, Tourism, Market Access, Exports and Imports which are key and supporting elements of ASGISA for example those inputs which we have got from other countries.

In ASGISA we seek to:

1. Half unemployment and poverty by 2014,
2. Average of Growth of at least 6% of GDP by 2014,
3. We want Sustainable and Shared Growth, we admit that notwithstanding our good macro-economic balance unemployment and poverty is still too high as President said "Years of freedom have been very good for business"

ASGISA is not a new economic policy. It is mostly micro economic reforms within a GEAR Macro economic framework. It is about the efficiency of the state, better conditions for business, closing the skills gap in short and long term, linking the 1st and 2nd economy, clearing up on Governance and Red tape, corruption etc, that impacts on delivering at all levels of government and critical within specific departments like DTI, DME, HA, DLA .

We are addressing a phenomena of growth that is driven by commodity prices to consumer spending both variables are therefore risky.

The key Initiatives in ASGI-SA are:

1) Infrastructure

R320 billion to be spent by SOE, government departments, PPP in the current METF, ESKOM, Transnet, Water, ACSA/2010, Roads, Habours, Rail, Clinics and Schools.

2) Human Resources

The MAKE or BREAK of this much needed R320 billion Public investment which is the best ever Fixed investment the country has ever seen could fall flat in the short term because of artisan skills and high level scarce and priority skills some of which we have to import!. If we lose it on HRD and Skills we will lose momentum and goodwill!

Skills needs for key sectors of the economy face similar challenges. i.e. We do not have any of them in South Africa. The long term quality of education and curriculum relevance needs attention, it will help us to have our critical pool of skills.

Private sector has told us they have problems with Home Affairs when it comes to bringing in scarce skills, spouses of South Africans and in general turn around time is too long at desk level and going through border gates by air or road can be a nightmare. It has been alleged.

Scarce skills that we have identified for the agent ASGISA include:

Ø Sectors to be promoted:

The following are the sectors we have identified as priority and are ready to implement pending minor outstanding matters.

  • (i) Tourism and
  • (ii) BPO
  • Skills, movement of people also arise here, including issues of flights, visas are also relevant.
  • These two sectors represent quick win sectors for both 1st and 2nd economy so we cannot go wrong.
  • I think Home Affairs must be part of the ASGI-SA Help Team responsible for removing bottlenecks.
  • Other sectors which are priority but are still work in progress include, Bio-fuels, Chemicals, Agriculture, Mineral beneficiation, Creative industries Clothing, Textile, wood and pulp paper.

    o Issues such a competition, import parity pricing, incentive scheme still need to be finalised in some of the sectors.

    o For all of them skills are a challenge!

Ø Second Economy

SMMEs

Access to Finance Micro and for small
1. Micro - R10 000 and below
2. Small - R10 000 - R250 000

  • Available funds include R1 billion from IDC, Khula, Umsobomvu, Financial services, Charter and other BEE charters.
  • Preferential Procurement by SOE's and government to be given attention and paying SMMEs on time Government have to set aside 10 items for SMMEs.
  • Targeting a 100 000 new SMME p/a.
  • Easy regulatory burden for SMME's.
  • A set of proposal are under consideration by Cabinet in that regard.
  • Further second economy initiatives will target youth.
  • Unemployed graduates. A national youth service, care for vulnerable children through the big brother big sister programmes, are some of the Umsobomvu Programmes. Education support and start businesses are also part of the work the DTI and DOE are busy with.
  • Youth will be targeted for artisan training at FET, learnerships and apprenticeships. We hope to place some trainees in companies outside South Africa.
  • Expanded Public Works will include early childhood care givers and road construction will also be significantly up-scaled. In all of EPWP programs we need to pay attention to quality of skills.
  • Housing challenges also enjoy priority in ASGI-SA especially the lower middle class who cannot find homes for R250 thousand to R150 million.
  • Women have identified, skills Access to finance, specific sectors that will help to engender ASGISA viz; Tourism, Agriculture, Creative Industries & BPO.
  • A fund which will target women is being launched tomorrow by Business Partners and Khula.

A placement program for women in infrastructure will start by May essentially providing project management, site management and project finance and all other aspects of infrastructure development.

Provincial Project: There are a range of infrastructure and Sectoral Initiatives.

Governance and Service Delivery:

As far as local government is concerned we will be deploying scarce skills. We have established a database in the last few months and will be ready to deploy mainly retired South Africans from May 2006 at least 90 of them have been screened, interviewed and approved. We are recruiting foreigners as well for mentoring in Local Economic Development, Engineering and Financial Management systems.

Focus on bottlenecks at local government levels and bottlenecks at all levels of Governments across departments, SOEs, those who issue licenses, permits, approvals and visas frontline officials in borders.

In Conclusion:

I cannot over emphasize the relevance of this department to ASGI-SA

  • Tourism and BPO
  • Skills in general especially for GIPSA
  • Import and Exports
  • Security and Corruption

ASGI-SA is meant to assist us perform better and profile the country well and share growth.

In this regard we received of what sounded like service delivery breakdown at some of our borders last December. I hope the matter has been canvassed with the department at the right levels.

Your Ministry and department has been seized with efforts to root out corruption and improve service delivery. It is a battle have to win, any failure always receive widespread publicity. As you know The Minister, deputy Minister or Director General can only do so much, they need from all of you. I thank you.

I know you are equal to the task, we depend on you when we are born, marry, divorce, go out of the country and even at death. You inform cabinet that we are officially dead.

I thank you.

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