GijimaAst, Home Affairs sign R2.5bn deal in South Africa

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Home Affairs director-general Mavuso Msimang and GijimaAst officials signed a deal, said to be worth R2.5 billion, to transform the department.

Aspects of the deal were recently referred to the auditor-general for investigation after persistent allegations of irregularities surrounding the processes followed to award the deal. Insiders have dismissed the claims as “sniping from the sides”.

The deal, to implement the “Who am I online” project, has been touted as a key component in the DHA's turnaround strategy that started last May with the appointment of Msimang as director-general.

“Who am I?” could potentially revolutionise the department by providing access to two core systems to branch offices and field teams. The national population register and the Home Affairs National Information System (Hanis) have, to date, only been accessible to officials at the DHA's Waltloo head office, resulting in the issuance of urgent documentation taking at least a week.

With positive biometric verification at DHA offices around the country, temporary identity documents can be issued immediately. The NPR is a mainframe database containing the identity records of every living South African citizen, resident and deported illegal, while the Hanis automated fingerprint identification system contains their photographs and fingerprints. Hanis is used to verify identity and acts as a “guard dog” for the national population register.

“Who am I” will allow DHA officials, border guards and immigration officers countrywide to check anyone's identity against the NPR and Hanis. “Who am I” will also simplify the visa application process for foreigners – which is why it is meant to be part of government's 2010 preparations.