Major banks will soon offer smart card ID service

The home affairs department says it plans to introduce several new innovations to assist South Africans in obtaining their smart ID cards and passports. (Theana Breugem, Gallo)

The home affairs department says it plans to introduce several new innovations to assist South Africans in obtaining their smart ID cards and passports. (Theana Breugem, Gallo)

Major banks will soon be taking applications for new smart card identity documents (IDs), Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Tuesday.

“There are several new innovations that are going to be introduced by the department to assist South Africans for smart ID cards and passports,” he told reporters in Pretoria.

“If I bank with bank ‘X’, that bank will take my application. We are linking our systems with those banks for us to be able to undertake that process.”

Standard Bank, Nedbank, and First National Bank had so far signed memoranda of understanding with the department.

“A person could be able to go to their bank. After doing banking they can go to the home affairs kiosk within the bank and submit all their applications.

“They take the biometric photograph, automated fingerprint, and electronic signature.
That is then compiled into an electronic package and deposited to home affairs,” said Gigaba.

Applicants would collect their IDs at the banks.

Pilot project expected to run in April
The pilot project with the three banks was expected to begin in April.

“We are quite excited about the fact that the banks have accepted our request to partner with them. It will both lessen the pressure at our offices and increase our ability to utilise the infrastructure of the private sector as partners,” said Gigaba.

“Once the pilot is successful, we can then open up the application [process] for the smart ID card to all South Africans who wish to apply.

“We had limited the applications to 60-year-olds and 16-year-olds.”

Gigaba said the South African Post Office would also be incorporated into the ID application project.

“We are hoping that, with the passage of time, we will be able to enlist the services of the SA Post Office as well. It has the largest footprint and furthest reach, especially into rural areas,” said Gigaba.

“That would assist us a great a deal. Where we do not have delivery points [for] home affairs, we can utilise the infrastructure of the SA Post Office.”

Of the 403 home affairs offices countrywide, 110 had a “live capture” system for processing smart card IDs and new passports. By March it was expected that 140 offices would have the new technology.

The smart card IDs could only be issued at offices where the new live capture system was in place. This had resulted in long queues at some of these offices.

The old green ID books would remain valid. – Sapa

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