Smart ID roll-out begins

It will take six to seven years for Home Affairs to replace green ID books with the new smart ID card. (Gallo)

It will take six to seven years for Home Affairs to replace green ID books with the new smart ID card. (Gallo)

Smart identity cards to replace the green, bar-coded identity books will be rolled out to first-time applicants and pensioners from Saturday, according to the department of home affairs.

"The roll-out of the smart ID cards to all eligible South Africans will take a few years and the department accordingly makes an appeal for the public to exercise patience," said spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa.

First-time applicants who are 16 years old and above are eligible to apply for the smart ID from February, he said.

Pensioners aged 60 years and older, who were born during the months of January and February, are also eligible to apply for the smart ID card from February.

From March, pensioners from the age of 60 upwards can start applying in accordance with their dates of birth, said Mamoepa.

All other South African citizens will be invited to apply and can log on to the department website for further information on the roll-out of the smart ID card.

Lengthy process

Applications for the Smart ID card can only be made at 28 departmental offices across the country.

It will take six to seven years to phase out the old identity documents (ID books).

South African company Altech Card Solutions won the R40-million tender to supply the Government Printing Works with card personalisation machines and an automated mailing solution, manufactured by DataCard in the US.

The leading identity card manufacturer, Gemalto Southern Africa, won the €16-million tender to supply pre-printed polycarbonate cards containing a contactless microchip. – Sapa

​For more information on how and when to apply for your smart ID card, go to



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