Ministers, premiers apply for smart ID cards

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pretoria – Cabinet ministers and premiers today applied for the new smart ID cards at the Home Affairs’ Byron Place offices in Pretoria.

Their application for the new smart ID cards -- which will replace the green bar-coded ID book -- follows the opening of three Home Affairs offices on Tuesday.

The offices in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town were renovated to be able to accept applications for the smart ID cards.

The opening of the three offices is part of the national plan by the department to unveil more offices across the country to roll out the smart ID cards to the public.

The smart ID card will help to combat identity theft and fraudulent activities related to driver’s licences and social grants, among others.

Speaking to SAnews after filling in his application, Minister in the Presidency responsible for the National Planning Commission, Trevor Manuel, said it felt good to be part of the first generation to receive the smart ID card.

“The smart ID card is a big step forward. It takes us into the next generation. It’s very important that we use the identity system and ensure that it is free from corruption…” said Manuel.

Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas said she was impressed with the whole process of applying for the smart ID card, which she described as efficient. She said Home Affairs officials take the time to ensure that the applicant understands the process.

Lucas said the rolling out of the smart ID cards was important for South Africans, especially women, who - even before men - started to fight for the right to be true citizens of the country.

“Today is a culmination of all the struggles that women went through ... It is a very simplified way in which you can identify yourself as a South African citizen, and it’s something we should be cheering about...” Lucas said.

She said what she liked most about the smart ID card was that women would now be able to carry it in their purse along with other cards.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said the rolling out of the smart ID card signified real transformation and change in the country.

“… What is also exciting is that it a very quick process and very simplified, which is going to be easy for people.

“The security feature of this card is very interesting,” he said, hopeful that it would not be easy to tamper with the card’s security features.

On Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor handed over smart ID cards to a number of senior citizens at the Byron Place and Harrison Street offices in Johannesburg.

The department is expected to roll out the system in 29 Home Affairs offices before the end of this year.

Pandor will make further announcements on when members of the public can apply.  –