9 July 2013
President Jacob Zuma has urged South Africans to embrace the new smart card IDs, saying they would transform the country’s security systems.
“I call on all citizens to come forward and be smart … the new smart ID cards are indeed very smart,” Zuma said after Home Affairs officials processed his smart card ID application at the presidential residence in Pretoria on Monday morning.
“I’ve just done my own smart ID now and I must thank Home Affairs for this development. We have thought the ID we had after 1994 was the final one, but now we are moving to the smart cards, which are [secure] and easy to carry,” Zuma said.
The process took about 15 minutes and included fingerprint verification, a picture and an electronic signature.
Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the President would receive his smart ID card on 18 July. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela are among others who will also receive theirs.
Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor has said it would take between six and eight years for all South Africans to get their smart identification document (ID) cards, which will replace the green bar-coded ID books.
Officials say the new cards will take five to 10 days to produce and deliver, compared with the current 47 days for paper documents.
Containing microchips embedded with biometric data unique to each individual, and with the information laser-engraved on the chip to prevent tampering, the new IDs will be near impossible to forge, according to Home Affairs.
Besides cutting down on identity theft and fraud, the smart IDs will speed up the process of establishing a modern, reliable population register.
The cost of the new IDs will be the same as the amount paid for the green bar-coded IDs, which currently cost R140. IDs are free for first-time applicants.