Motlanthe, Pandor happy with Smart ID printers

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pretoria - Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor says facilities at Government Printing Works (GPW) are ready to roll out the first Smart ID Card, ahead of the launch of the new cards on 18 July.

Pandor and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Tuesday inspected the state-of-the-art machines that will be used to print the ID cards.

The new tech savvy Smart ID Cards, which are expected to curb identity fraud, will be launched on former President Nelson Mandela’s birthday -- an event that will also kick-start Mandela Day activities across the country.

Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for the Home Affairs Department, said three regional offices will be prepared in the interim and by the end of August, these will be increased to 27 when the general public will be expected to apply for the new IDs.

On Women’s Day (9 August), four machines costing R40 million, will be commissioned to produce the cards. They will be named after struggle icons Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Sophie de Bruyn and Rahima Moosa -- all of whom led the Women’s March to the Union Buildings in 1956.

First-time applicants will receive their cards for free, while South Africans who will replace their current green ID books will pay R140 to get the Smart ID Card.

President Jacob Zuma, Motlanthe, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be among the first recipients of the new card.

“We are very excited that the Deputy President has visited our facilities today and we are excited that on 18 July, he will be among the first recipients of the smart cards,” Pandor told reporters after the tour.

“We may be certain that we have the best facilities… we believe we have excellent material with high security features and anyone who thinks they can defraud the cards will have to really tamper with them,” Pandor said.

The most important security feature on the cards would be fingerprint biometrics and biographic data, which would make it extremely difficult to forge them.

This sentiment was echoed by Motlanthe, who described the machines to print the cards as “state-of-the art”. 

GPW CEO Joe Engelbrech took Motlanthe through a step-by-step process to produce the cards.

“We are confident that we have the best and our documents will not be forged,” said Motlanthe.

Officials have said it would take five to 10 days to process as opposed to the current waiting period of 48 days. –