Up to eight years for smart card IDs

2013-05-09 16:49

It would take up to eight years to issue all South Africans with so-called smart card identity documents and not four years as was estimated before, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor has said.

The department believed once the process was under way it could print some 3 million ID cards a year, using the government printing works, Pandor told reporters ahead of her department’s budget vote in Parliament.

Last year, soon after she succeeded Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the portfolio, Pandor predicted the transition would take four years.

Home Affairs would start issuing the cards in stages from July this year, she said.

“This will be a major step towards creating a modern, reliable population register.”

It was hoped the microchip technology in the new cards would cut down on identity fraud.

“We are going to have to work really hard and smart, and really begin to ensure we get the necessary infrastructure into as many offices as possible, but I think ... we should not continue to issue that book, which is easily duplicated and really causes lots of problems,” said Pandor.

She said her department believed it would have achieved registry security when birth registry was the “only point of entry” to the database.

To this end, she said, the department was making headway in achieving its long-standing goal of registering all babies within a month of birth.

Last year, it registered more than 602 000 births. It intended increasing this by at least 8% this year.

Pandor said she intended abolishing the issuing of birth certificates by 2015 “because it opens us to a lot of abuse, a lot of identity theft, a lot of trafficking of children”.

She hoped to finally invalidate all remaining duplicate IDs – some 20 000 compared to half a million four years ago – by the end of the year.

“I now wish to announce that it is my intention to invalidate duplicate IDs by the end of the year at the stroke of a pen.”

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