Smart ID Card machines named after women veterans

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pretoria – Saluting all the women veterans who fought for human dignity and freedom, President Jacob Zuma today named the Government Printing Works machines -- which are used to print the new cards -- after the leaders of the 1956 women’s march.

Speaking at the event to name the printing machines after receiving his new Smart ID Card, Zuma praised the women of 1956, saying the women of today can learn from them.

“We are thus truly pleased that this Government Printing Works now houses important equipment named after our heroines and leaders - Sophie de Bruyn, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa,” he said.

In a few days, the country will mark the beginning of Women’s Month. Zuma said the introduction of the new Smart ID Cards was a reminder to all South Africans of the courage and zeal shown by women in 1913 and 1956.

“We will be remembering the march on the Union Buildings by more than 20 000 women, who were tired of the pass laws and the impact they had on their lives.

“The pass laws dictated where people should live, where they should work, where their children could go to school, based on the colour of their skin. Carrying a pass then was an insult and an affront to the dignity of our people,” Zuma said.

He said this was the history that gave birth to the South Africa of today. “It is for this reason that women decided that enough was enough, took to the streets against pass laws and other discriminatory legislation.”

He said the struggle against pass laws was an important milestone in the country’s history because it acknowledges and affirms the role of women in bringing about the freedom and democracy South Africans enjoy today.

Meanwhile, the Department of Home Affairs says the roll-out of the Smart ID Cards is likely to take a number of years. The department’s offices are currently being fitted with the technology necessary to process the cards.

By the end of the year, the department wants to have 70 offices available to the public to receive applications for new Smart ID cards.

Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor announced the introduction of the new Smart ID Cards during her department’s budget vote in Parliament earlier this year.

The new IDs, which will be issued free to all first time applicants, can be used in next year’s elections.

The new Smart ID Card has a microchip -- the specifications of which cannot be disclosed for security reasons -- which will house the necessary biometric data unique to every individual. The information on the chip is laser-engraved to prevent tampering.

According to Home Affairs, 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.

Earlier this month, former Presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk also received their Smart ID Cards.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, former Speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala, struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni and Sophie de Bruyn - who was one of the leaders of the 1956 march – also received their smart cards on Madiba’s birthday.

This included the Mandela Generation, those who were involved in the struggle against the apartheid regime during Mandela’s time.

Selected senior citizens, those above 100 years, also received their new IDs on the same day. –

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