Minister gives update on smart ID cards

South Africa’s proposed “smart” identity-card plan will receive about R270-million this year, Minister of Home Affairs Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told parliamentarians on Wednesday.

Speaking in her Budget vote in an extended public committee, she said: “The introduction of the smart ID [identity document] card, which is the outstanding component of the Hanis [Home Affairs National Identification System], was approved by Cabinet on July 25 2001 pending the finalisation of the procurement model for such a card.”

The card—which has been talked about in Budget votes for several years—is now “at the final stages for Cabinet’s approval of such a procurement model”, the minister reported.

She said a year ago that the cards would be rolled out by March this year—but it now looks likely that 2006 is a more likely target.

Earlier this year, Mapisa-Nqakula revealed that her department was holding discussions with banks to have the credit-card size ID cards—which will replace ID books—loaded with banking details.

She reported, meanwhile, that her department will continue to implement Hanis.

“The project consists of three components—the automated fingerprint identification system, system integration and the smart ID card.

“We have moved to implement the two first components with the introduction of the electronic document management system as well as the back-record conversion process to convert all fingerprint records into electronic format to allow for online biometric verification,” she said.

It was previously reported that the department was converting 65 000 fingerprint records per day into the new computerised system.

“We are targeting to complete the conversion process during September,” she said.

The conversion process will cost R132-million this year, and R44,4-million had been allocated to the electronic document management system. 

“The redesign of the population register will be at a cost of R15,2-million, while the rewrite of the movement control system has an allocation of R72,2-million,” she said.—I-Net Bridge

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