Smart ID cards could be used in next South African general election: Minister

March 5, 2013 - 

By 2014, some South Africans will be using new smart ID cards in place of the existing green identity books and it’s possible the ID cards could be in use by the next general election, according to the country’s Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Suma.

Reported in, Dlamini-Zuma said a pilot project is current underway, which aims to test the accuracy of the system, and eventually introduce it in phases.

“The IEC is aware of the process and they are making sure they are ready,” the minister said.

Covered in, the Department of Home Affairs plans to issue the ID cards with the aim to reduce identity fraud and theft. The cards will have embedded microchips and in terms of biometrics, will contain fingerprint data and a permanent image of the card holder.

According to the news24 report, in the next 18 months of the pilot project the department will start issuing smart cards to all first-time applicants.

South Africa is joining the growing list of countries with electronic identity card programs in place. As convenient travel, along with the constant shipment of goods between continents, many governments have maintained that more reliable identification and authentication methods are required and have turned to electronic identity programs. A recent Biometric Research Note indicates that the market for eID cards is expected to reach US$5.2 billion by 2015.

The Department of Basic Education in South Africa also has plans for a massive project that would see 24,000 school equipped with biometric clocking devices.

The project is believed to be the biggest of its kind and is set to be active in 2013. Currently, across South Africa, manual sign-in system still exist for teachers which has left the system susceptible to abuse and fraud.

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj