File image: (The Independent).

CAPE TOWN - The South African Post Office recipient database is now managed by Black-owned cybersecurity experts Magix Africa, Dataproof and local biometric authentication specialists Fides Cloud Technologies. 

The companies said that their multi-modal biometric verification engine system prevents fraud and ensures that the right recipients receive their cards. 

The Magix Africa consortium won a SAPO procurement bid in March this year to provide a multi-modal biometric verification engine. 

How this system works is it is able to securely manage and biometrically verify grant recipients data to prevent fraud and ensure that the right recipients receive their grants and cards. 

The system underwent a pilot phase earlier this month across 12 sites and is now live. 

SAPO and SASSA will use the system to identify grant recipients data by just using their fingerprints. 

What this system also allows is for SAPO and SASSA to verify recipients according to other biometric technology such as palm print and facial recognition. 

“Magix Africa’s technology partner, Fides Cloud Technologies, has developed its own proprietary software whereby all information related to the SASSA beneficiary is stored in a POPI-compliant, secure TrustedVault. Fides is storing both a photo of the SASSA grant holder as well as a copy of their grant letter alongside their fingerprint”, said the Managing Director of Magix Africa, Kevin Wotshela. 

So how exactly does this work? Wotshela said that Fides will primarily be using fingerprint biometrics. The reason being is because the fingerprint WSQ (Wavelet Scalar Quantisation*) images are being extracted and embedded in biometrically enabled EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) cards.

Wotshela added that SAPO is also interested in palm recognition which is one of the functionalities that Fide caters for, including voice, facial, iris and eye recognition. 

When asked what Magix Africa is doing differently by managing SAPO’s identification data, Wotshela said that biometrics, photos and grant letters are stored in each beneficiaries TrustedVault. 

Business Report then asked Wotshela what are the action steps people can take in the instance where an individual tries to access their account. Wotshela said that Magix Africa has a real time-monitoring dashboard that records real-time biometric activity within all of SAPO and SASSA’s 4 500 branches across South Africa.

“This allows SAPO to be alerted if a fraudster has attempted to verify themselves against an ID number and if this fingerprint has already been enrolled. Fides is then able to identify which ID number that fingerprint is linked to and able to then eradicate the fraud in real-time”, said Wotshela. 

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