Babalo Ndenze

Political Bureau

NEW smart ID cards, with built-in safety features will be distributed from July, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor told Parliament yesterday.

It would take about seven years to phase out the green bar-coded identity documents and replace them with smart ID cards, Pandor said in delivering her department’s budget vote speech yesterday.

The department’s budget was set at R6.7 billion, a huge increase from the previous financial year’s budget of R5.3bn.

Pandor said her department would also strengthen efforts to have all 16-year-olds apply for and receive their ID documents.

Some students were writing their National Certificate exams without having IDs, which was becoming problematic. Her department would be working closely with the Department of Basic Education in the drive.

“We are making progress with creating a paperless environment in Home Affairs. More offices use modern technology.

“Modernisation includes live data capture, e-visa and permiting, the Trusted Traveller Programme, the Enhanced Electronic Movement Control System, the National Identification System (NIS) with biometric features, and the smart ID card,” said Pandor.

She said in 2012/13 the department allocated R314 million to IT modernisation and would increase that to over R348m this financial year.

Pandor said the current ID documents were very susceptible to fraud.

Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said the new smart ID cards would improve security.

“The electronic verification card has a chip to store your biometric data… We can also check fingerprints against that card. We are moving towards a paperless department. Currently you fill in forms that are then couriered, and that takes time… we want to improve the turnaround time.”