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Five things to know about the new Home Affairs minister

Addressing the backlog of working visas is high on the agenda for the new Minister of Home Affairs Leon Schreiber.

Schreiber is one of the 76 ministers and deputy ministers, comprising representatives from 11 political parties and signatories of the Government of National Unity (GNU) that were announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday. 

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT LEON SCHREIBER

The 35-year-old is one of the youngest ministers in the seventh administration. He takes over from Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who has moved to the Department of Health, where he was deployed before. Njabulo Nzuza has retained his position as deputy minister.

Here’s what we know about the new minister:

  • Leon Schreiber was born at Radie Kotze clinic in Piketberg, Namaqualand in the Northern Cape.
  • He holds Bachelor’s, BA Honours, and Master’s degrees in political science from Stellenbosch, and a Ph.D. in political science from the Free University of Berlin in Germany.
  • He is an author of a book titled Coalition Country: South Africa after the ANC where he predicted that the African National Congress (ANC) would lose its electoral majority. South Africa’s liberation has always polled above 50% since 1994.
  •  He previously served as the Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration from May 2019 to June 2024. 
  • Between 2015 and 2019, Schreiber was a senior research specialist at Princeton University in the Innovations for Successful Societies programme. His research interests included social policy, institutions, and the comparative political economy of development.
Leon Schreiber with his deputy Njabulo Nzuza. Image: X/@Leon_Schreib

WHAT ARE HIS KEY PRIORITIES?

Following his appointment, Schreiber took to X to assure South Africans that he will serve to the best of his abilities.

“It is my honour to be appointed as Minister of Home Affairs for the Republic of South Africa. I pledge to serve you to the best of my abilities and in a spirit of collaboration, to demonstrate that South Africans can fix even the most intractable problems when we work together,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

In an interview, Leon Schreiber said his first priority is to address the backlog of working visas.

“We have to take the visa issue very seriously, as this is an economic catalyst for South Africa. We need to have a process whereby people who want to contribute skills or capital to SA are actually able to do that,” he said.

He also said he also wants to prioritise eliminating the long queues at Home Affairs offices and also tackle the issue of offline systems via efficient IT processes.

Schreiber said the Department of Home Affairs is central to everyone’s lives, and they need to make those reforms to enhance the dignity and efficiency of services.

“This department is fundamentally about human dignity, which has been infringed upon by the failures we have seen,” he said

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