Between 2007 and 2009, the Department of Home Affairs was in the middle of its turnaround programme, aimed at modernising the department and making it more efficient. At the helm was Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, though she is hardly given due credit for the success of the turnaround; recognition went unfairly to the director-general, Mavuso Msimang, and to the minister’s successor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Mapisa-Nqakula’s deputy was Malusi Gigaba, who was also the Home Affairs pointsman on migration policy reform, which — we were told — was the focus of one of the turnaround project’s many work streams. This period coincided with the movement of large numbers of migrants to SA. The world’s attention particularly focused on how SA dealt with the Zimbabwean refugee crisis, following the failure of Thabo Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy. The pressure inevitably fell on Mapisa-Nqakula and Gigaba to explain the government’s position on migration and why many of the unwanted "invaders", from different...

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