New measures to ensure authentic IDs

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The Department of Home Affairs is to introduce new measures to clean-up the population register in order to retain the integrity of Identity Documents (IDs) and passports internationally.

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Monday corrupt activities within the department had significantly compromised the integrity of South African documents at an international level.

"Since we can no longer be sure whether the person in possession of a South African ID or passport is 100 percent South African; we strongly believe that we need a clean population register that will truly and clearly reflect all South African citizens.

"We want to do all this to retain the integrity of our documents which are being increasingly undermined at the international level," she said.

Recently, the department introduced a modern passport with new and improved security features. However, she said regardless of this, , some countries still demanded a visa as they felt a South African passport was not secure enough.

Since the current birth certificates only reflect the name and number of the child, as part of the new measures, the new certificate will also include details of the mother.

In order to minimise late birth registration, Minister Dlamini-Zuma said the department will soon embark on a huge national campaign which includes visiting both primary and secondary schools.

"We will be visiting schools at the foundation level to ensure that all South African kids are properly captured on the population register," she said.

According to the minister, discussions were still underway as to the age that minors under 16 years of age, should be fingerprinted.

"This will reduce long and winding queues in our offices because when children qualify to apply for an ID, they will just put their thumb on the system and their details captured on our data system will be reflected.

"We are also intending to issue IDs to children while they are still at the high schools," she said.

Every year, the department produced in excess of two million IDs, but 56 to 60 percent were being re-issued to those who have lost their IDs.

"South Africans need to be proud of their IDs and they should keep them safely. We cannot continue with this situation," she said.

The former Foreign Affairs Minister said while fraud prevention means creating a work environment that values honesty, her only possible attitude towards fraud and all criminal activities will be one of zero tolerance.

"We are not going to tolerate fraudulent and corrupt activities and we believe that all corrupt officials should leave the department.

"The justice system should also ensure that such corrupt officials are punished appropriately because their activities do not only demoralise the spirit of honest officials, but it also undermines the integrity of our country," she said.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, who was also present at the briefing added that they were looking at closing all fraudulent markets in the communities.

"We also need to shut down all the fraudulent markets in the communities where people place an order to acquire fraudulent documents.

"To achieve our goal, we are going to depend a lot on honesty and good citizenry," he said.