South Africa to pilot smart ID cards
8 May 2012
South Africans will move one step closer to having smart card IDs when the Department of Home Affairs launches the pilot of its smart ID project, which promises to speed up government services while cutting down on crime and corruption involving identity documents.
Briefing journalists in Pretoria last week, Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni said the pilot - to be launched within the next six months - would involve the issue of 2 000 smart IDs to allow for the testing of the smart cards' systems, hardware and software.
"It will also enable the government to procure the required machinery to produce the volume of cards that will be required, so that we eventually completely phase out the current green bar-coded ID."
Old IDs to be phased out over four years
Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said last month that the roll-out of the smart IDs - their issue to new ID applicants - would begin in 2013.
Apleni said that, once all the systems were tested and in place to produce the smart cards, all new ID applications would be treated as applications for smart IDs - at which point the minister would promulgate the costs of the smart IDs for citizens.
These are expected to be similar to the current costs for documents.
It was possible that the green bar-coded ID could eventually be phased out over about four years, Apleni said.
One card fits all?
Apleni said the government was looking at having South Africans use just one card for all their official documentation requirements - identities, licences, National Health Insurance, social grants.
He said the departments of transport, health and social development were wanting to be involved in the project, adding that Home Affairs would look into how it could upscale the chip on the cards in order to accommodate these departments.
BuaNews and SAinfo reporter