Smart ID printers named after activists

2013-07-30 20:07
President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - The new ID smart cards will provide a sense of citizenship and belonging to all South Africans, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

Zuma received his card from Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor, and then went on to name the four machines printing the cards after struggle heroines Sophie de Bruyn, Rahima Moosa, Helen Joseph, and Lilian Ngoyi.

The four women led the march by 20 000 women in 1956, against the pass laws, to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Speaking at the government printing works in Pretoria, Zuma said: "This gesture is intended to further immortalise their contribution to the struggle for liberation and of building a better South Africa, which is home to all who live in it, black and white."

The pass laws dictated where people should live, work, and the schools their children should go to.

"Carrying a pass then was an insult and an affront to the dignity of our people," he said.

Zuma said 2013 marked 100 years since Charlotte Maxeke led the women's march against the pass laws in Bloemfontein in 1913.

"The introduction of the new smart ID cards thus remind[s] us of the courage and zeal by women in 1913 and 1956."

In the 1913 march, about 600 women went to the Bloemfontein City Council in the Orange Free State to voice their disapproval of the laws of the time. During the march 34 women were arrested and convicted for not having passes.

"Given the important role of women in the struggle against pass laws in this country, it is befitting that we name machines printing identity documents after stalwarts who fought for justice, human rights and dignity for all," Zuma said.


The current bar-coded green ID book had limited security features and had been prone to fraud and identity theft, he said.

The new ID smart card had biometric features that would enable individuals to prove their identity with 100% certainty.

Zuma urged South Africans without identity documents to apply as the nation prepared for next year’s general elections.

"By the time you vote next year, you must be a smart South African," he said.

One of the first people to receive the new ID card was former president Nelson Mandela, who received his on his birthday, on 18 July.

Smart card IDs have also been issued to Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his wife Graça Machel, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and former president Thabo Mbeki.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, former president FW de Klerk, and struggle veterans Sophie de Bruyn, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada, and Dennis Goldberg also received theirs.

Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said the new smart cards would be available to the rest of the public once all the department’s offices had the required technology.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  jacob zuma  |  naledi pandor

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