KZN govt pioneers fingerprint security

2008-11-18 00:00

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government is the first in the country to introduce fingerprint access to its staff and accounting computer systems in a bid to curb fraud and corruption.

The new system will mean that civil servants entering ghost employees or authorising a fraudulent transaction can be traced through their unique fingerprints.

It will also make charging culprits easier as they cannot say that their password was stolen.

It will hamper hacking into the system as hackers will be able to advance only to a certain level before they will be asked for an identifying fingerprint.

Demonstrating how the system works at a gathering of senior provincial staff, Vuma Madlala of Datacentrix assured them that only live fingerprints are identified. The demonstration and introduction to the Biometric Access Control System was held at the premier’s office yesterday.

Thasen Singh, information technology (IT) manager for provincial Treasury, said 3 700 government employees who work with the personnel and accounting systems as well as IT managers and technicians will be fingerprinted in the months ahead.

Dr Warwick Dorning, head of KZN’s Finance Ministry, said the value of the system is realised when one considers that KZN controls a budget of R50 billion a year. If one percent of that money is lost through fraud it amounts to R500 million of taxpayers’ money.

Datacentrix chairman Gary Morolo thanked the province for pioneering the new system.

He said that although KZN is not often cited as a very corrupt province, “you are the first to implement the system. Even national government is looking to see how it works here”.

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