New smart ID card to be introduced this year

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pretoria – Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor says the long-awaited smart Identity Document (ID) card will be rolled out in the second quarter of this current financial year.

Making the announcement ahead of her department’s budget vote on Thursday, Pandor said the smart IDs will first be issued to all first-time ID and re-issue applicants.

The smart IDs will initially be introduced at 27 Home Affairs offices across the country, in three offices in each province.

This, according to Home Affairs, is part of the process of moving towards a “paperless environment” in the department.

“It is a contactless card containing a microchip embedded with biometric security features. It has a life span of at least 10 years,” said Pandor.

The new smart ID card will have a microchip, the specifications for which cannot be disclosed for security reasons, which will house the necessary biometric data unique to every individual. The information on the chip will be laser-engraved to prevent tampering.

The smart cards aim to cut down on the fraudulent use of fake or stolen IDs, as the department says the new cards will be almost impossible to forge.

Pandor said the cost of the smart ID card will be the same as the amount paid for the green bar-coded ID, which currently costs R140. IDs are free for first time applicants.

According to Pandor, the new ID will take about three days for the applicant to receive.

She assured those who will be in possession of the new IDs that they will be able to use them for next year’s general elections.

She said it would take the department seven to eight years to do away with the old IDs.

With regard to the National Population Registration, Pandor said her department will introduce an online birth registration facility in 40 health institutions throughout the country.

The department wants babies to be registered within 30 days of birth. To make registration easier, the department has connected hospitals, clinics and other health care centres to the department’s database.

“We will increase the reach of these services by adding online birth registration facilities in 40 health institutions,” Pandor said.

According to Pandor, since the initiative was introduced, the number of babies registered within 30 days had increased by 6% from 556 762 to 602 530 in the past year.

Registering a South African national after 30 days of birth is referred to as the late registration of birth.

“One of the challenges we deal with on a daily basis is registering the births of adults who were not registered as babies and therefore do not have birth certificates. We will bring this process to an end by the 2015/16 financial year,” said Pandor.

The minister also said the department, working with the Department of Basic Education, will ensure that all 16 year olds apply for and receive IDs.

“An ID is a crucial document that enables you access to a range of services and opportunities.

“In the current financial year, we will improve on our efforts to build the National Population Register by ensuring that all 16 year olds apply for and receive IDs,” she said.

Additionally, Pandor said the department would invalidate all duplicate IDs by December 2013.

“The department has since 2009 been engaged in a process of cleaning up its National Population Register and this included removing duplicate ID numbers,” she said. -