Home Affairs, SABRIC partner to combat fraud

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pretoria - The newly-launched Online Fingerprint Verification System is expected to deal a significant blow to acts of fraud and corruption that have cheated banks out of millions of Rands, says Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Speaking at the launch of the system in Pretoria on Tuesday, the minister was confident that the country's "first ever and historic Online Fingerprint Verification System" would prove to be a giant step for all South Africans.

"The launch of the Online Fingerprint Verification System...will lay a basis for us jointly to deal a massive and decisive blow against acts of fraud and corruption that have cost our financial and banking institutions millions, if not billions, of Rands. The Online Fingerprint Verification System is indeed a simple but sophisticated [tool] against fraud and corruption," she added.

The system is a joint initiative between the department and the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC).

In terms of the initiative, the department will allow banks access to the Home Affairs National Identification System to verify the identity of prospective and current clients using their fingerprints.

Five banks - ABSA, African Bank, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank - are currently participating in the initiative, with the system at different phases of implementation with each bank.

Dlamini Zuma thanked SABRIC for the support and confidence it had shown in her department by partnering with it.

"We equally, as government, through this partnership, express our confidence in the South African banking system which has weathered the storms of various stages of our economic development including, the recent global recession," she said.

The launch also laid the foundation for a more strategic partnership between the department and the banking sector, the minister noted.

"In launching the Online Fingerprint Verification System, Home Affairs and SABRIC indeed contribute to a positive climate in which our citizenry are and feel safe in the knowledge that their savings, investments, deposits and hard-won earnings are indeed secure in the hands of the various banking institutions," she added.

SABRIC described the initiative as an important measure in helping banks prevent identity theft related crimes that banks and its customers become victims of.

SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay said: "The banks are very grateful to the Department of Home Affairs for allowing them this unique opportunity to maximise the benefits of technological innovations in the interests of their clients.

"Banks clients will benefit immensely from this initiative as it offers the banks a second layer of confirmation that the persons presenting identity documents are indeed who they purport to be."

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