Internal Affairs or the Department of Home Affairs is notorious for its incompetence and corruption:


  • Maintenance of the National Population Register (the civil registry), including the recording of births, marriages/civil partnerships and deaths.
  • Issuing identity documents and passports.
  • Issuing visas for visitors to South Africa (although visa applications pass through embassies or consulates which are part of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation).
  • Managing immigration to South Africa and naturalization of permanent immigrants.
  • Handling refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa.
  • Controlling ports of entry at land borders, seaports and airports. 
    • You can see there is much to control (see Wikipedia)


The department is a laggard in processing documents necessary for survival in SA.  

For example

  • it was reported it took two years to process visa requests from Zimbabwe citizens applying for work and study permits 
  • in one reported case a South African unsuccessfully applied for an identity document over a four year period.
  • see poor service


Corruption is widely regarded as rampant within Home Affairs.


  • In 2010 a parliamentary Portfolio Committee was told that Home Affairs owed the Government Printer R126 million dating back to April 2009. The Government Printer  indicated they could not continue to print passports without payment because they in turn could not purchase materials for the passports (passport printing in trouble).  
  • In September 2010 it was reported by Home Affairs that they were facing lawsuits amounting to R 6.8 billion for various acts of mismanagement and absurdities inflicted on SA and Foreign nationals and breaches of terms and contracts including live people being declared dead, failure to issue identity documents and arrests of persons whose ID documents were used fraudulently (Home Affairs sued for R6.8 billion).  
  • Not surprisingly, internally Home Affairs don’t perform well. In May 2010 SA’s Public Service Commission reported that Home Affairs accounted for 22 of the 260 financial misconduct cases for national departments in 2008/9 (mismanagement in the DHA).