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This is South Africa’s new Home Affairs Minister

After the unsurprising resignation of controversial and shamed former Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, South Africa waited in bated breath to see who President Ramaphosa would appoint to mop up the Malusi mess. Yesterday, during a cabinet reshuffle announcement, the president announced that Siyabonga Cwele will be South Africa’s new Home Affairs Minister.

Unnamed (1)

We took a look at who Cwele is and what qualifies this 60-year old to handle the country’s rather chaotic Department of Home Affairs.

  • Dr Cwele, the former Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, was born on 3 September 1958 and is based in Port Shepstone
  • Cwele was Minister of telecommunications and Postal Services between 26 May 2014 and November 2018
  • He has been a member at the National Assembly since 2014
  • He served as the Minister of State Security and he served as Minister of Intelligence from 2008 to 2009
  • He reportedly has an MBchB Medical Policy degree, which he obtained from the University of KwaZulu Natal. He also obtained his MPhil in Economic Policy from the University of Stellenbosch.
  • Cwele joined the KwaZulu-Natal provincial Executive Committee in 1994
  • He went on to secure a position as a MP in 1994
  • The Minister has been a member of the National Assembly since 1999
  • Cwele has since held several ministerial positions in the ANC

Challenges Cwele will face:

Restoring the integrity of SA’s border control

In 2009 the UK imposed visa requirements on South Africa amid fears that we were, inter alia, a honeypot for illegal immigrants, and the integrity of our national identification system was deteriorating.

“Poor border management not only impedes effective customs excise revenue management, but it is an inherent threat to global security,” said the City Press’s Thebogo Kaas.

Poor Global reputation

Reflecting very poorly on Gigaba’s leadership of the Home Affairs is that the latest ratings by global citizenship advisory group Henley & Partners, peg South Africa’s passport power ranking at an unflattering 52 in the world, down 17 places since 2008.

Tourists have been deterred by visa and passport requirements – cost SA billions

Gigaba is accused of bringing in ludicrous visa regulations for travellers wanting to visit SA, in both a professional and recreational capacity. The paperwork is long and drawn out, whereas the Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) requirement is a complicated process which has been off putting to tourists.


The Tourism Business Council of South Africa claim that over 13 000 travellers have been denied the chance to come to our country due to difficulties with the UBC, costing the industry an estimated R7.51 billion in lost revenue, which is very close to the Health Department’s budget deficit – according to the 2018 Auditor General report.

IT problems plaguing Home Affairs

The Department has had unending issues with their IT-system resulting in delays, back logs and general bad administration of the department – it has also not helped their public image.

Undoubtedly much more needs to be done and corrected at Home Affairs but if these four issues, which have been very damaging for South African businesses and industries, are to be managed and corrected.


Sources:, EWN, Times Live,, The South African, moneyweb,

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South Africa politics Malusi Gigaba Siyabonga Cwele