'Who Am I Online' delayed

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The Department of Home Affairs' modernisation programme, 'Who Am I Online' experienced a delay in finalising implementation plans in the first half of the year.

Treasury's Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure shows that the department has declared a R100 million saving in its administrative programme due to a delay in finalising implementation plans for the project.

A treasury official explains that the delay is due to a set-back in getting a contract signed between a Cuban team and home affairs. 'Who Am I Online' has been renamed to the Information Systems Modernisation project.

The official explains that, during the settlement talks with Gijima, it became clear that the department would have to bring other entities on board to do software development, which included the South African Revenue Service and the Cubans. All contacts should be in place by month-end.

The project, which started in 2008, aims to replace the department's outdated and obsolete legacy systems, as well as improve security at an estimated cost of R2.4 billion. Home affairs cancelled the deal with Gijima in April 2010, which resulted in implementation stalling.

However, the dispute was resolved last January, costing Gijima R374 million, and home affairs paid out R852 million to own hardware instead of leasing the equipment. The R100 million will be reallocated in the project's final year.

National Treasury's Estimates of National Expenditure for the 2012 budget, tabled in February, indicated that an additional amount of R134.1 million was set aside for spending by the department in this financial year, most of which was been earmarked for the project.

The project was meant to kick off again in April this year and home affairs was allocated R1.1 billion over the medium-term to complete the project by 2014/15. The department spent R1.4 billion on the project between 2008/09 and 2011/12.

In the medium-term, several aspects are due to be completed:

* Live capture functionality for identity documents and passports.
* Cleaning of the national population register.
* Core systems integration of civics and immigration.
* The visa and permitting system.
* Rollout of the movement control system to 38 remaining ports of entry that were not covered in the run up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
* Piloting of the smart ID card.

Last year, home affairs spent 96.7% of its adjusted budget and so far this year has spent 47% of its R5.244 billion budget.

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