Smart-card ID docs to replace green-card IDs

2012-05-17 13:33

The introduction of new smart-card identity documents will eliminate all forms of fraud and corruption including identity theft, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said today.

Dlamini-Zuma unveiling one of her department’s most important initiatives in Pretoria this morning where she said the new IDs, which are being produced in a pilot project, would be produced within the next six months.

She said there were a number of security features, including an invisible micro-chip, which can’t be detected by the naked eye, that would deter corruption.

The department had budgeted R5 million for a pilot project to test the efficacy of the system before it is rolled out.

“We don’t have figures yet on how much the system will cost but that will depend on the machines we will have to buy to produce millions of IDs per year,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

She said producing each smart-card ID would cost the same as a green bar-coded ID.

After the production of the smart-card ID has begun in six months’ time the department will spend 18 months issuing IDs to new and existing ID holders.

“After that we will start recalling green bar-coded IDs and start the new process of applying for smart-cards. New IDs are currently free of charge but for lost IDs we charge R140. We need to prepare our frontline offices for the system which will not capture information on paper but online to make the process faster and fraud-free. We will need another two years to finish issuing the new IDs to everybody else,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

Instead of taking months to issue an ID it would now take up to a week, said Dlamini-Zuma who already owns a smart-card ID.

Department officials would undergo training for the new system and the IDs would be printed in-house.

“All we have to do is buy the materials to produce the ID. At this stage there is no tender that has been issued,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

She said the department was working with other departments including Human Settlements and Social Development, both of which have had problems with fraudulent IDs being used to access grants and low-cost housing.

The department also paraded a new machine which it said would be used by retail stores, banks and other outlets that require verification of a person’s identity.

The department’s chief information officer, Sello Mmakau, said the handheld machines will be sold for between R30 and R100 each to any company or retail store that wants to verify people’s IDs.

By the next elections, in 2014, some South Africans will vote using the new IDs while others will still be using the green IDs.

She said her department was having discussions with the Independent Electoral Commission to ensure that everyone was ready to utilise the new IDs.

The new IDs would make it “useless” for anybody to steal an ID because they would not be able to use it anywhere for fraudulent activities.

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