Madiba among the first to get Smart ID Card

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pretoria- Former President Nelson Mandela – who celebrates his 95th birthday today - will be among the first recipients of the Smart ID Card expected to be launched at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday.

The official launch of the Smart ID Card will take the form of a symbolic handing over of the Smart ID Card to former President Nelson Mandela, which will be received on his behalf by his daughter Zindzi Mandela.

Today, on Nelson Mandela Day, the Minister of Home Affairs will hand over the first batch of Smart ID Cards to senior leaders in and outside government as well as senior citizens of ages ranging between 80-90 years.

Over the last few weeks, the department has been capturing the biometric details of President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW De Klerk, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Sophie de Bruyn, Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Denis Goldberg and Frene Ginwala.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, the launch of the Smart ID Card is part of efforts by the government to consolidate the restoration of national identity, citizenship and dignity that was denied to the majority of South Africans by successive racist regimes.

Accordingly, the launch of the Smart ID Card is a culmination of decades of struggle against the pass laws and marks a decisive departure from the recent past history of South Africa.

The minister said at a briefing in Pretoria earlier this month that the new cards have two forms of security features.

“The first is physical security features on the card body such as holograms, laser engraving and personal details which will provide visual verification of the card and easily identify tampered cards. There are logical security features which include fingerprint biometrics and biographic data which is embedded on the 80 kilobytes card chip.

“Personalisation with laser engraving of demographic details and photographs makes the new card extremely difficult to forge or tamper with. This is indeed service and technological innovation of which we should all be proud,” said the minister.

She said the new card will also take less time to produce than paper documents.

The minister said in terms of delivery to the broader public, the department would announce its plans in due course. She said it would take between six and eight years before all South Africans have Smart ID Cards.

“We will start with young South Africans as first-time applicants for identity documents, as well as senior citizens. In order to avoid a rush, applicants will be invited to our offices in stages, according to their dates of birth.

“We will work hard to expand the number of offices able to process applications for the Smart ID Card,” said Pandor at the time. –