Chairperson, hon Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Maggie Maunye, and members of the committee, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Ms Chohan, and hon members of the National Assembly, you often find that Ministers who are new to a portfolio are tempted to develop new policy, amend legislation and seek to create a personal history. I find this a hazardous path to take, particularly in the third year of a term of government. The policies and objectives of the department are my mandate and my focus. The priorities are the following: to register all births within 30 days of birth; to ensure all 16-year-olds apply for and receive identity documents, IDs; to enhance security by creating a reliable National Population Register that is supported by modern technology and effective administration; to ensure we have ports of entry that are modern, secure, efficient and reliable; to administer our immigration policy in a manner that supports national priorities of skills acquisition, job creation and inclusive growth; to meet our international obligations with respect to asylum seekers and refugees and thus to promote human dignity and respect for all; and to support our national security in collaboration with the Security cluster.
This budget speech takes place against the backdrop of the 19th celebration of the dawn of peace and freedom in our country and the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity. Whenever we debate our progress, we should always remember that the freedom we celebrate is a consequence of the sacrifice and heroism of the many millions who contributed to ending the scourge of apartheid. Our work today responds to both the legacy of apartheid and the opportunities that result from freedom. Since 1994, our ANC government has worked hard to ensure the Department of Home Affairs restores dignity to all, creates systems for a secure identity and promotes international friendships. We have also played a full role in supporting government to achieve the outcomes and policies adopted in 2009. Our budget this financial year is set at R6,7 billion. Our departmental programmes receive R4,8 billion. The Film and Publication Board will receive R82 million. The Electoral Commission will receive R1,6 billion. Members will understand that when we have an election, they are responsible for party-political funding as well, so it is not that they are suddenly richer. The Government Printing Works will receive R134 million.
As we work to implement our programmes, we will intensify our campaign directed towards developing the National Population Register. This campaign is to create a secure South African citizenship database and a secure identity. I believe we will have succeeded in this when we have birth registration as the only point of entry into our National Population Register. Our priority is to register children within 30 days of birth. We have connected hospitals and other health care centres to our database, and babies can now be registered at the place of birth.
We registered 602 530 births in 2012 and intend to expand this number by at least 8% each year. First prize is that every child born in our country must be registered within 30 days of birth. We will intensify our outreach campaigns to reach families in our most marginal communities and will work closely with all our stakeholder forums to popularise registration of births. It has not yet become common practice in South Africa for all families to register children at birth. We have to make this a natural part of our community and family life. [Applause.]
We will continue to offer late registration of births, which is part of the services offered within Home Affairs, but I am proposing that this House agrees that we stop this service in 2015, because it opens us up to a lot of abuse, a lot of identity theft, and a lot of trafficking of children. I believe we have to stop this practice. The year 2015 should be our cut-off date, should the House agree. [Applause.]
This year, we introduced on-the-spot, unabridged birth certificate issuing. This is another advance towards our objective of a trustworthy National Population Register. The certificate is secure and reliable. It carries the names and identity numbers of both parents. It will help us to eliminate fraud, multiple visits to our offices, the pain of not being able to trace your family tree, and the piling up of paper documents in the department.
We have seen some challenges with respect to implementing this particular new, unabridged birth certificate. We find that we are not attending fully to the registration of children born to foreign nationals and, at times, there is reluctance, Mr Mnqasela, among fathers to be included on the unabridged birth certificate. [Interjections.] This is a matter we hope the gentlemen in our country will assist us with to ensure that we do have both parents on the birth certificates of all the children of our country. [Applause.] We will intensify communication and education and improve the systems that we are currently utilising. We want all fathers to accept it when they have given rise to children. [Applause.]
We also are proceeding to intensify our activity with respect to the ID registration campaign. We want to have all young people of 16 years and above holding an ID. We want to work together with the Ministry of Basic Education and our community stakeholder forums, and, happily, the National Youth Development Agency, Nyda, has agreed to join us, as has many youth formations. They will help us mobilise youth of 16 years and over to apply for identity documents.
For several years we have been trying to eliminate the holding of duplicate IDs. Since 2009, we have mounted a national campaign in this regard. At that date, we had over 500 000 in circulation in South Africa. We now believe we have a mop-up to do of around 20 000 duplicate IDs. We have tried to call on citizens to come forward to resolve the issue of these duplicate IDs. I now wish to announce that it is my intention to invalidate all duplicate IDs in December this year at the sweep of a pen. [Applause.]
All holders of duplicate IDs should approach our offices to seek assistance. We are working very closely with the financial sector organisations to smooth over the inconvenience that may result from this invalidation. They fully agree with me that it must be done, because it makes life very difficult for the financial and retail sector in our country.
We are also making progress with creating a paperless environment in Home Affairs. More offices use modern technology. Modernisation, as part of our project, includes live data capturing in our offices, e-visa issuing, as well as the issuing of e-permits. We have the Trusted Traveller Programme, the Enhanced Electronic Movement Control System, which is giving us access to more refined data on persons coming in and leaving our country, the National Identification System, which includes biometric features, and, of course, our wonderful plans for the introduction of the smart ID card. In 2012-13 we allocated R214 million to our information technology modernisation initiatives. This year, we will provide over R348 million towards this initiative. We must be modern. We must have more technology if we are to succeed.
We are also working very hard to ensure that we are able to issue the smart ID card in a phased implementation plan from the third quarter of this year, from July 2013. We will begin issuing the smart ID card from 27 Home Affairs regional offices throughout the country. These offices have already been equipped with the capacity for live capture. Over the next three years, we will install live capture in all offices of the Department of Home Affairs. This will enable the department to issue the smart ID card to all South African citizens over the next five to seven years and to finally get rid of the antiquated green ID book. [Applause.] This will be a major step towards creating a reliable National Population Register.
I believe that immigration is one of the areas in which we need a great deal of attention. We have massive growth within it; there is massive opportunity as well. According to the World Bank Migration and Remittances Unit, in 2010 there were 1,9 million immigrants living in South Africa - about 3,7% of our population - notably from Zimbabwe, at around 859 000, from Mozambique, at 455 000, and from Lesotho, at around 351 000. At the same time, 878 000 South Africans lived overseas, particularly in the United Kingdom, which has 226 000 South Africans, Mozambique, which has 155 000, and Australia, which has 133 000. Immigrants remitted $720 million out of South Africa, whilst South African emigrants remitted $1,2 billion back into South Africa.
Census 2011 provides an update and estimates that, in 2011, we had around 2,7 million, or 5,7%, of South Africa's 51,7 million people, as foreign- born persons in our country. I think it's important for us always to remember that global migration is not simply about people moving from one country to another. It's also about money being transferred back to the country of origin. According to the World Bank, migrant remittances have tripled in volume in the last decade. A measure of the size of this is that remittances now dwarf global aid. I believe unreservedly that immigration needs to be administered effectively, but also that immigration into South Africa should be encouraged. We have to compete in a global marketplace for skills. It's something we have not addressed effectively as yet, but the National Development Plan has indicated that we need to do so. As part of our strategy to attract skills, we made 50 000 work permits available for scarce skills, but only 20 673 of these permits were issued in 2011. This means we have not filled that quota. We'll be asking the Immigration Advisory Board to look into this whole area and to reconsider whether the limit we have set is at the right level and whether the processes we are utilising are assisting us to achieve our objectives.
I think that we should provide clearer guidance about the numbers and the skills that we need. Our country is one of the most open economies in the world, and we want those with the right skills to come here: the investors, the entrepreneurs who will create the businesses and the jobs of tomorrow, and the scientists who will help South Africa keep its achievements at the heart of the great advances in medicine, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and communications. They merit, I believe, a permit policy that shows we are ready to compete with other countries for global talent. [Applause.]
It is generally acknowledged that South Africa suffers from a shortage of high-level research skills, that is, individuals with doctoral degrees and several years' research experience. We are currently considering a system of four-year to five-year work permits for foreigners who graduate from our universities in critical skills areas as a means of contributing to development in our country. We also need mathematics and science teachers. They should be given work permits that allow schools and teachers to function in a stable environment. [Applause.]
We are currently finalising the regulations for the Immigration Amendment Act, Act 13 of 2011. These will streamline the process of scientists applying for work permits. We will be working with our colleagues in the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Higher Education and Training to assist us in reducing the bottlenecks being experienced in evaluating visa and permit requests for scientists and researchers. The process that we will initiate will be similar to the corporate account status enjoyed by some multinational corporations in accessing permits in our country.
With regard to business, we've increased the opportunities for foreign investors and entrepreneurs. A total of 1 346 visas were issued to entrepreneurs in 2011. We are on track to issue more than that this year. In future, we intend to make it easier for venture capitalists to back entrepreneurs, to back people who are starting small-scale businesses that may become the blue chip businesses of tomorrow. We also plan to increase efficiency in issuing permits to investors in South Africa. Currently, we issue waivers for employees of many multinational corporations. We have had many complaints about delays in issuing permits - we are addressing these concerns. I'm aware that there are many companies that prefer to use staff from their overseas headquarters in their South African businesses.
I wish to indicate that, as government, we do have an obligation to promote job creation and skills development for South Africans as well. Our immigration policy, therefore, must help us to respond to this particular obligation of government. We want to welcome investment, but we want to see South Africans getting opportunities and being trained to run major corporations as well.
We will be appointing more adjudicators to assist us in managing the backlog in our temporary and permanent residence permit units to ensure speedier processing of applications. I have been very concerned that we have a huge backlog of permanent residence applications. So, we have approved the growth of that unit in order to ensure that we speed up the process of issuing these permits. I believe that if we manage immigration competently, we can attract critical skills to expand the economy and promote trade and investment for job creation and development. We need to be able to compete.
Yet globalisation also brings the risks of transnational crime and terrorism that can undermine the gains we have made in democracy. Competent management of immigration is vital for all our security. We have to do much more to protect our borders and our ports of entry. I am pleased to announce that government has agreed to the phased establishment of a border management agency, BMA. [Interjections.] Indeed, the agency will ensure co- ordination of and co-operation among the departments operating at our points of entry and along our borders. The BMA will be led by the Department of Home Affairs and will involve Sars, the SA National Defence Force, SAPS, the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Focused attention is being paid by our department to improving the management, capacity and infrastructure at our ports of entry. Last year, we made over R110 million available for improving infrastructure at our ports of entry. This was done via the Public Works budget. This year, over R130 million is being made available in the Department of Home Affairs budget. We will be able to execute the infrastructure improvement far more speedily. We have equipped a number of our ports of entry with the enhanced movement control system, whilst also ensuring that we introduce the advanced passenger processing system for airlines. These are positive developments, but much more still needs to be done to ensure that they work as we want them to. The changes have, I believe, improved the movement of persons and goods through our ports of entry. We are now able to process millions of visitors annually.
As a country, we have become a prime tourist destination and a venue of choice for hosting large international events. We are proud to have contributed to the hosting of the AU-UN African Conference of Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics, the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament, as well as the recent Brics summit of heads of state and government held in Durban. The support provided by Home Affairs was, I believe, excellent.
As part of building our capacity, greater attention will be paid to asylum seekers, the recruitment of migrants with critical skills, and the flow of economic migrants from other Southern African Development Community countries. We have begun to address gaps at the level of policy and operations. I think the Deputy Minister will address the matter of the work we are doing with the management of asylum seekers and refugees.
I think one of the urgent areas we must address is regularising the flow of economic migrants, particularly those from our neighbouring countries in the SADC. We are working on an immigration policy paper that will set out our proposals and policy perspectives. We intend to propose the provision of a work seekers' visa or a similar instrument for the SADC citizens. We just have to acknowledge that persons come from SADC looking for work and use the asylum route as a means of acquiring the right to stay in South Africa. We must create an appropriate route for such persons.
We also intend to work closely with the SADC countries to address the phenomenon of illegal migration into our country and region. The security risk that this poses to the political and economic stability of our country and region cannot be ignored. However, we must implement such policy within the ambit of the law and the Constitution, with due regard to human dignity, development and human security.
One of the priorities that our department has taken up very vigorously is action against crime, fraud and corruption. We are acting in Home Affairs. [Interjections.] Yes, indeed, right! Just two days ago, nine officials were arrested on suspicion of corruption. We support all efforts directed at eradicating corruption. [Applause.] The department's enforcement units, the Inspectorate and Counter Corruption, are combining efforts more effectively and working closely with other law enforcement agencies within the Security cluster to act effectively against crime, fraud and corruption.
Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to meet with the top management and other officials of the department, and I've paid visits to various Home Affairs offices across the country, including some ports of entry. As we stand on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the advent of democracy in South Africa, I believe my predecessors have laid a firm foundation for the department to make a meaningful contribution to the socioeconomic development of our country, whilst ensuring a safer and more secure management of our borders and ports of entry. I am sure that the majority of Home Affairs officials are keen to contribute meaningfully to the achievement of the five national priorities of our government, to the mandate of Home Affairs and to the objectives of the National Development Plan.
I have not referred to some of the inadequacies that concern me, namely the poor responsiveness of our call centre, the delays in effecting changes requested by clients, the backlogs in asylum management, in permanent residence issuing and temporary residence issuing, and many other problems which we will address as we work with the director-general and his team to create a fully responsive and efficient Department of Home Affairs.
In closing, I wish to thank the Deputy Minister for the always comradely support, intelligent counsel and lots of SMS texts. She loves to send SMSs. [Applause.] Thanks to our director-general for his hard work and support. Thank you, director-general, for the assistance you and your team have given me in helping me to settle in, and thanks too to all the officials of the department for welcoming me with open arms. I am grateful for the advice and gentle guidance of the chairperson of the portfolio committee and the support we get through the questions of hon De Freitas. [Laughter.] Hon Maggie Maunye and your colleagues, I really wish to thank you for your support and hard work. [Applause.] I hope that all members of this House will support our budget for the 2013- 14 financial year. I believe very firmly that working together, we can do more to contribute to the creation of a better life for all our people. Thank you very much. [Applause.]