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Skilled staff needed to implement Home Affairs turnaround strategy

by Nthambeleni Gabara
on 25 Nov 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The improvements at Home Affairs which have been brought on as a result of the department's Turnaround Strategy will only be sustained if committed and skilled people are available to implement them.

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Monday that while the new systems and re-engineered processes were crucial, the changes at Home Affairs will be driven and sustained only if they have committed and skilled people to implement the new processes.

Briefing media on the progress of the Turnaround Strategy, accompanied by Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba, Ms Mapisa-Nqakula said: "We are molting the old skin of Home Affairs and what is now emerging is a brighter, better, more efficient organisation. I am happy that now after only a year of implementation, the Turnaround Strategy is starting to bear fruit with some of the key services fundamentally re-engineered."'

She said ultimate success will be measured by its ability to resolve the department's business shortcomings and make real impact on the experience of their clients on the ground.

One of the key elements of the strategy is to ensure the right people are employed into the right positions within the new structure. "This means attracting skilled new staff into the more than 3000 new positions required by the new Home Affairs model."

Next year, the department will move all their staff into the new Home Affairs model, which has different structures and some different positions.

"We should ensure that people are able to do the jobs they are required to do and that they are placed in positions in terms of their strengths, skill-level and experience," she said.

According to the minister, when they conducted their competency test on the level of managers in October this year, 76 percent of the managers passed the tests.

"Only 13 managers failed and one is under review. However, we view this as a huge improvement since 2006. This is a clear indication that the development programmes for staff contained in the Turn-Around programme are bearing fruit," she said.

Earlier this year, the department signed a historic agreement with the Public Service Association and NEHAWU, who committed to making the Turnaround Strategy work.

Ms Mapisa-Nqakula said: "We will continue to implement this programme within the tight regulation of the public service and we shall always seek to adhere to this regulatory framework as provided for through the Public Service Act."

A total of 215 Home Affairs offices now have online fingerprint verification equipment, including the 40 offices which handle the highest volume.

The equipment allows for the immediate checking of fingerprints for customers whose fingerprints are already on the department's system.

"We are now also able to issue on the spot temporary identity certificates at all the offices that have online fingerprint verification," said the minister. - BuaNews

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