South Africa to begin smart ID roll-out

17 May 2013

South Africa will begin rolling out its new smart card IDs in the third quarter of the year, issuing them to to all first-time and re-issue applicants, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor announced earlier this month.

The Cabinet welcomed the announcement at its fortnightly meeting in Pretoria this week, with Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams calling on South Africans to support the process in an effort to ensure that all citizens had their smart card IDs by 2020.

“This key milestone holds the potential to speed up government services while cutting down on crime and corruption involving identity documents,” Williams said on Thursday.

The new smart card IDs will contain microchips embedded with biometric data unique to each individual. The information on the chip will be laser-engraved to prevent tampering.

Besides cutting down on identity theft and fraud, the smart card ID will speed up the process of establishing a modern, reliable population register.

The Department of Home Affairs plans to issue the smart card ID to all South Africans over the next eight years as it phases out the current green bar-coded ID book.

To begin with, 27 Home Affairs regional offices, three in each province, will process smart card IDs, with more offices to follow suit over the next three years.

Pandor said the cost of the smart card IDs would be the same as the amount paid for the green bar-coded ID, which currently costs R140. IDs are free for first-time applicants.

According to Pandor, the new ID will take about three days for applicants to receive – compared to a 54-day turnaround time for the green bar-coded ID.

She also gave her assurance that those in possession of the new IDs would be able to use them to vote in next year’s general elections. and SAinfo reporter