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South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs to deploy biometric technology at border posts


South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs is looking to integrate biometric technology such as fingerprint and facial recognition in its ongoing information systems modernization programme, according to a report by ITWeb.co.za.

Reported previously, the South African tourism department is set to introduce new regulations in October that would require travellers to the country to obtain a biometric visa in-person.

Sello Mmakau, deputy director general for information systems at the DHA, said that the department will be phasing fingerprint and facial recognition technology into the country’s main points of entry throughout the next few years.

The DHA will begin deploying fingerprint technology at border posts later this year, then move on to implementing facial recognition technology in 2015/2016, said Mmakau.

According to Mmakau, the multi-phase program is a significant part of establishing the “Trusted Traveller System”, which will enable quicker border processing times for people arriving and departing to and from South Africa on a frequent weekday basis.

“If you have been vetted, have no criminal record and are a noted frequent traveller, you will use a quicker gate, which identifies you through technology,” said Mmakau, adding that the department will roll out a “national identification system” to replace the existing legacy systems in place with the national population register.

The department will also work towards cleaning up data — which would entail fixing errors and putting an end to duplication — to improve the quality of information on the population register, said Mmakau.

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