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Pretoria - The Smart ID Card system introduced this year will come with a hefty price tag – R5.35 billion – says Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor.
The system includes hi-tech security features such as holograms, laser engraving, personal details, fingerprint biometrics and biographic data embedded in the card chip – making identity theft harder.
Pandor said in a written reply to a parliamentary question yesterday the department was speaking to the Treasury about options to provide the cards free to poorer citizens.
It costs R140 each for replacement cards, but Pandor said this might change as a result of the discussions with the Treasury.
This comes after she insisted at a media briefing on Thursday there had been no complaints about fraudulently obtained South African passports since that of Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, now on an Interpol wanted list in connection with an alleged terror plot in Kenya dating back to 2011, came to light.
Lewthwaite had obtained the passport via the late registration of births process after stealing the identity of South African Natalie Faye Webb.
But Pandor denied it was easy to get a fake South African passport – a concern that led to the UK changing its visa requirements for South African visitors.
“I do not think it is easy to get a South African passport. It might have been at the time but I think we have changed both the process of application as well as the character of the passport,” Pandor said.
“As far as I am aware, up to today, all South Africans are able to travel without hazard and are getting through ports of entry as they travel. I have not received any complaints up to this very moment.”
The South African authorities had also not been asked by the Kenyan government to investigate any local connection to the terror attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi last weekend, Pandor added.
Pretoria News Weekend