National Assembly Speaker receives her Smart ID

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pretoria - Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize on Monday presented National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete her new Smart ID Card at one of the busiest Home Affairs Offices in Johannesburg, Harrison Street.

This year’s target is to issue three million Smart ID Cards to citizens. The department aims to replace around 38 million green barcoded ID books within five years.

Since July 2013, over six million Smart ID Cards have been issued.

The green barcoded identity book was first introduced in 1986. With the advent of democracy in 1994, it was extended to all citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity.

In the democratic era, the green barcoded ID book played a role in South Africa’s endeavour to forge a new common national identity and it served as a prerequisite for various services for citizens, including voting, registering birth, drawing social grants and opening bank accounts.

Its limitations were mainly around security, as it can be easily tampered with. It is open to human manipulation, a factor that has contributed to fraud. South African citizens are encouraged to apply for the Smart ID Card because it is highly secured.

The Smart ID has a card chip, which is readable and verifiable, with biographic data embedded on it, and thus it is not easily manipulated or forged. The Smart ID Card is wholly automated and supported by a live capture system.

Since its inception in 2013, the department has modernised 179 offices across the country. It is from these offices that the Smart ID Cards and secured passports are issued.

The Smart ID Card is a part of the system-wide Modernisation Programme Home Affairs initiated in 2011 to create a digital, secure, paperless environment.

The Modernisation Programme is changing for the better the way the department is operating, including digitising systems and processes.

The department has partnered with four commercial banks in the country to increase its service footprint – ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank. Through this partnership, the department is using spaces in banks for the intake of Smart ID Cards and passports. Participating banks are equipped with the live capture system.

Over and above this initiative, a first for South Africa, over 3 000 bank branches across the country are also benefitting from the online verification initiative.

As part of the Modernisation Programme, the department has initiated a project to modernise processes for births, marriages, deaths, personal amendments, permitting, asylum-seeker and refugee management.

The ultimate goal is to build a new, credible, reliable and efficient National Identity System, which can deliver mandatory services to citizens, while also supporting economic development and promoting personal safety and national security.

Home Affairs is encouraging citizens, young and old, to apply for their Smart ID Cards, and to keep them safe. –

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