Home Affairs aims to increase smart ID rollout

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni says talks with National Treasury for the approval of a public-private partnership, which could see more bank outlets issuing smart IDs and passports, are at an advanced stage.

“We have agreements with banks and the Competition Commission, [and] we are now in talks with National Treasury because we need a public-private partnership (PPP). Treasury needs to give approval so that this relationship with the banks complies with the provisions of a PPP. Once we close that, we will roll-out as quickly as we can,” said Apleni.

He made the announcement at a briefing held on Wednesday to allay public concerns after a hoax social media notice claimed that green ID books would expire on 31 March 2018.

Apleni said once the PPP deal is sealed, banks will be able to make more outlets available to process smart ID applications and passports.  

To date, members of the public can only finalise their applications at 14 banks, 13 of which are in Gauteng and only one in Cape Town as pilot sites.

Apleni said Home Affairs hopes that by the end of the following financial year, they will have the backing of Treasury.  

“Discussions with participating banks are continuing to increase capacity through additional bank branches. The participating banks are Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard.

“Again we encourage those with access to the internet to apply for their smart ID cards and passports online using the eHomeAffairs portal, which is accessible on the official Department of Home Affairs website – www.dha.gov.za,” said Apleni.

Challenges faced in the rollout

The department said part of the challenges it faces is the running of two systems, namely the manual system (for births, marriages and death registrations) and the automated system for smart ID cards and passports.

Only 184 out of 411 Home Affairs offices currently have live capture, which can process applications for smart ID cards and passports. The remaining 227 offices are still to be modernised.

“We are working on getting our systems fully automated, and are also developing a mobile solution to support the rollout of smart ID cards. Between 2013 and 2017, we were able to reach the seven million milestone on smart ID cards issued,” said the department.

Fake accounts to steal money 

Home Affairs said it has also noticed a spike in the number of incidents where people use fake accounts to steal money from others.

“We urge people to be vigilant. They should not allow themselves to be conned, whether for tenders, IDs or other documents,” said Apleni. – SAnews.gov.za

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