South Africa to launch ABIS, add face and iris to national identity system

South Africa has announced the launch of its new Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), which will eventually use facial and iris recognition. The ABIS is being launched under the Department of Home Affairs’ Modernisation Programme, and will back the country’s National Identification System, which is replacing its manual legacy Home Affairs National Identity System (HANIS).

Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba announced the launch, which will be followed by the integration of the HANIS and Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) with the new system. Home Affairs planning documents show the data migration from AFIS to ABIS is planned for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, with iris and palm-print capabilities added in fiscal 2019-2020, BusinessTech reports.

Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni told Biometric Update at ID4Africa 2017 that the department recognized the need to move toward multi-modal biometrics, and was considering deploying iris recognition technology Home Affairs is also planning to pilot a biometrics-backed electronic visa system in 2019.

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