Smart cards to replace IDs

03 May

PEOPLE applying for ID books will soon be getting smart ID cards instead.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, her deputy, Fatima Chohan, and department officials showed off theirs yesterday and demonstrated how the new system would work.

Delivering her budget vote speech in Parliament later, Dlamini Zuma welcomed the transition from apartheid’s hated dompas to the smart card.

The system “reads” a person’s thumbprint with an electronic scanner and instantly compares it with information stored in the Home Affairs database, quickly alerting officials to fraudsters or those in possession of stolen cards.

A pilot project in which smart cards would be given to people applying for their first IDs, or those whose IDs had been lost or stolen, would probably start in about six months, Dlamini-Zuma said.

This first phase would cost about R5 million, but it would cost much more to replace every citizen’s ID with a smart card as special machines needed to be made, she said.

ID cards would probably be issued in about two years.

The machines would be able to manufacture other cards, including driving licences.

Unlike the bar-coded ID books currently in use, the smart cards would not be easy to forge, the minister said.

The new card is a key element of the new national identity system, which will replace separate systems used to manage civic and immigration data.

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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Changing Things


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