Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba talks to officials at the Umgeni Road offices where he took his "war on queues" campaign on Monday. Picture: Chris Ndaliso

CAPE TOWN - Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of home affairs has announced that he plans to launch a new Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) that will include facial recognition and IRIS technology. 

The department said that the ABIS will be used to combine South African and foreign nationals’ data into a single platform. 

“The grand plan seeks to integrate HANIS and the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) into an automated system through ABIS with the capability to identify and verify people through fingerprints, facial recognition and IRIS technology,” it said

According to the department’s 2018/2019 annual performance plan, it expects the AFIS data migration into ABIS to be completed within the 2018/19 financial year.

This will include iris and palm-print recognition capabilities beginning to come online by 2019/20.

The new systems form part of an ongoing revamp of home affairs offices around the country.

In April, Gigaba said that he had directed his department to prepare a report and strategy on managing long queues at home affairs offices across the country.

 Gigaba declared a "war on queues" bedevilling the department's operations, but admitted it will not be a quick fix.

"This will be a critical component of concerted efforts to ensure citizens and other clients are served professionally when they seek access, in-person or digitally, to services we offer," Gigaba told journalists in Pretoria.

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