The production of a high-security South African passport started on Wednesday, the CEO of the Government Printing Works said.
”The new passport contains several high-security features that are tamper-proof, making it impossible to forge,” Tom Moyane told a media briefing in Pretoria.
He said the passport holder’s biographical data was laser-engraved on a polycarbonate page in the new passport.
The passport has a fine-line security background design depicting the ”Big Five” animals on the pages.
The stitching in the new passport is interlocked, making it durable.
He said it took the Government Printing Works four years to research the new passport and they were confident it could not be forged.
He said government had invested half a billion rand in the production of the new passport.
Home Affairs spokesperson Siobhan McCarthy said the existing South African passport would remain valid until its expiry date or until it ran out of pages.
The new passport would be issued to applicants who had recently applied for passports.
She said the online fingerprint verification system would be used to confirm the identity of the applicant as well as to minimise risks of identity fraud.
These would require the applicant to visit home affairs offices or foreign missions in person to apply, she said.
The new passport was introduced with the aim of improving customer service and stamping out forgery, said McCarthy.
Moyane said there would be one colour passport for both adults and children, the difference would be the code for adults and children.
The new passport came at a time when the UK said South African visitors to that country must have a visa because of concerns over the security of South African passports. — Sapa