ID smart cards by next elections

2012-05-17 14:13

Pretoria - Smart ID cards could be in use by the next general election, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in Pretoria on Thursday.

She said some South Africans would be using the smart card instead of the green identity book by 2014.

"The IEC [Independent Electoral Commission] is aware of the process and they are making sure that they are ready."

She said the aim of a pilot project, currently underway, was to test how accurate the new system was, and whether it was ready for the phase-in stages.

A national identity system would capture biometric and biographic details of all South Africans and foreign nationals.

Merge cards

In the next 18 months of the pilot project, the department would start issuing the smartcards to all first-time applicants, Dlamini-Zuma said. Later, the department would recall the green identity books to replace them with smartcards.

Dlamini-Zuma said discussions were underway with the department of transport regarding merging the drivers' licence card with the smartcard.

At the moment the idea was not feasible as drivers' licences had to be renewed every five years, while the smart ID card could be used for up to 10 years without needing to be replaced.

Unlike waiting for weeks or months for a green ID book, it would take several days after an application had been made for a person to get their card.

The most time-consuming element of the process would be sorting cards for various provinces after printing them, and then sending them back to the centres where applications had been made.


Banks, businesses or other credit providers who needed people's identity details would have to purchase small verification machines. These would scan a person's fingerprint, allowing the user to determine if the person was the card's rightful owner.

The verification machines would cost between R30 and R100, depending on the level of sophistication. Police or metro police would have mobile versions of the devices.

Dlamini-Zuma said it would be useless to steal someone's smart identity card. The thief would not be able to use it since the fingerprints would not match.

The smartcards had "hidden" security measures which would make duplication impossible, the minister said.

"There is no way you can duplicate this card; trying to forge the card would be a nightmare."

Another security feature of the card would be an embedded photo of the carrier that could not be replaced or changed, Dlamini-Zuma said.

  • - 2012-05-17 14:22

    Put them in use already, too much fraud with this old ID eish

      Squeegee - 2012-05-17 15:25

      Pity there won't be smart politicians.

      rudi.wet.5 - 2012-08-06 10:05

      I cant help to think of the passage in the Bible that warns us about the mark of the Beast. That you won't be able to purchase without this mark. How long before this smartcard (which will definately have a chip) is planted into someone's skin?

      Andile Vabasa - 2013-03-04 20:36

      @Rudi, Do not worry about that. The whole chip under the skin thing is merely a widely believed rumor. No one really knows what the bible refers to when it mentions the "Mark of the beast". It my not even be a literal mark on your physical being but a figure of speech. For example I would say something that you do would make more sense than a chip under your skin.

  • cherilee.heuvel - 2012-05-17 14:33

    Finally something to look forward to in this country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Robin - 2012-05-17 14:35

      yep, but who is making money from it ?? one wonders !!!

      Murechen - 2012-05-17 15:18

      When the Minister introduced them, she said that the first card would be free. It was on Etv's 7pm news bulletin on the day that it was unveiled to the public - just in case we need to prove that we, the public, were not "consulted" on any additional charges etc.

  • JNaMolefe - 2012-05-17 14:33

    Perfect! Until i get a new ID smart card, i will definitely look after it :) I hate my old green ID book!

  • Ulrich - 2012-05-17 14:34

    Dlamini-Zuma, "There is no way you can duplicate this card." It just shows you how narrow minded these people are. These cards have already been duplicated... Thanks to hackers & crackers none of our personal information is safe anymore. Even duplicating fingerprints have been busted by the Mythbusters!!!

      Jackie - 2012-05-17 14:42

      Duplicates Finger Print? Me thinks you are watching too much movies or you are just Pessimist. So what do you suggest we do now?

      khwezi.ndawonde - 2012-05-17 14:51

      are you one of them, duplicating our finger print, be shame of your self

      Ulrich - 2012-05-17 15:00

      Nothings impossible. They managed to put people on the moon, copying finger prints are nothing compared to that and for your information have a look at the Mythbusters episode which is not a movie...

      Heiku - 2012-05-17 17:29

      Yes. She was clearly suppose to say: "Needless to say these cards will be cracked within a matter of minutes. In fact they have been cracked already. Your identity is not safe." That would obviously inspire confidence.

  • siya.jr - 2012-05-17 14:35

    I won't be suprise if the Home Affairs officials sell those blank smart ID card before you launch them minister.

  • Burtfred - 2012-05-17 14:36

    I see a nice juicy rip-off tender for one of the comrades.

      Keith - 2012-05-19 06:47

      They've already got it, according to a comment above. On a different site I read that all businesses will need to buy a "devise" (sic) for reading the card, plus, of course, fingerprint machines and washing facilities for use thereafter. No doubt one of the comrades will become the official provider of these machines.

  • Antipoaching - 2012-05-17 14:42

    and government tightens its grip on the populace.......

  • Martin - 2012-05-17 14:44

    "THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN DUPLICATE THIS CARD" everything is possible arrogant chop, someone somewhere just accepted that challenge. c

  • Phindile Sithole Hlongwa - 2012-05-17 14:44

    Those who are overseas, when they renew their passports it has smart I'd card inside already.

  • Jannie - 2012-05-17 14:54


  • Gina - 2012-05-17 14:57

    "No way you can duplicate this card" - I beg to differ madam; with all the corrupt civil servants in Home Affairs, ANYTHING is possible including duplicating that which supposedly can't be duplicated...

  • siboniso.mnyandumpangazitha - 2012-05-17 15:30

    This is something to look forward to but there is still a lot that the Minister needs to explain. Like when exactly this project will be rolled out - a definite roll-out plan this time. How much it will cost the taxpayers and the individual to replace a damaged or lost one. Is the budget really available? What International Standards or Best practices have been adopted. Security of of information is the concern in this country. What assurance do we have that the cards cannot be easily duplicated?

  • Hilda - 2012-05-17 15:53

    And how much is this going to cost

  • Ken - 2012-05-17 15:56

    Good Move. @Ulrich I accept that few things are impossible, but duplication will now become that much harder. Tenders and kickbacks apply to everything but shouldn't detract from the merits of more personal security.

  • chrisX - 2012-05-17 16:02

    I wonder if Shabir Shaik's company will be printing these like the drivers licences... Starts to make sense why we keep on having to renew these cards every couple of years, nice little income for these crooks. Funny we never had to renew our drivers licences before...

  • berni.venter - 2012-05-17 16:08

    "Game on" some enterprising criminal masterminds are thinking...

  • Shaun McDermott - 2012-05-17 16:24

    they tried that here in the uk and the info hidden on the card can be chjanged without opening the envelope. the pilot was scrapped.

  • thabo.manganye - 2012-05-17 16:46

    hope the process of replacing my i.d wont be as horrible as the current situation. Home Affairs is just but a nightmare to many south africans but not taking the good deed out of the current Minister. she is trying her level best to improve the face of her ministry only to be let down by the corrupt lazy people working in her ministry. i think before the phasing out of the old ( Current) i.d book, there must a lot of changes within the department itself. wish you all the best Madam Minister

      George - 2012-05-17 16:51

      This is the Minister that wanted to leave her post recently and take up some AU appointment. Some commitment !!

  • George - 2012-05-17 16:46

    Now, all that is required is for the SA public to make a SMART choice at the next election and elect DA and send the criminal cANCer society packing back into exile. They have shown themselves unworthy of proving good governance or adhere to the basic tenets of democracy.

  • Orapeleng Edgar Monnaoapula - 2012-05-17 16:48

    whose pockets r being lined this time? another failure from oversea being imposed on us! and one crony will be busking in da sun smwr in da islands...

  • Fanie - 2012-05-17 18:44

    YEEEEEAAAAAH right I was Involved with the original project in 2003 when we installed the replacement servers that was originally installed by my company at that stage in 1997 - so frankly I will believe it when i see it

  • Bruce - 2012-05-17 22:14

    How many postponements before they even start implementing, will they have the trained staff to do so? "I am afraid - I am very afraid!"

  • Tman Matenchi - 2012-05-18 06:56

    Blah blah blah...the same employees of this department will assist in the forging. Show them that paper with a cheetah on and they are all game.

  • Sueki Gotha-Billy Fitzgerald - 2012-05-18 08:32

    so let me get this straight.... they are putting how many time and money into this just so that it can FAIL yet again... Erm Zuma start focusing on running the country boy. you cant keep crime under control how will you keep anything with the word SMART in, under control?

  • luca.delbianco.3 - 2012-08-06 09:57

    What a nice project to be implemented just before the next general elections!These people in charge do not have more pressing problems to solve in the country without squandering further taxpayers money?Who is going to educate masses on how to use the new id cards?I can imagine already pages and pages of newspapers advertising the new id cards features :) Cheers.

  • skiapas - 2012-12-13 16:20

    ....can't it be combined with the drivers' licence....which is already a form of I.D......?

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