South Africans get their chance to comment on national ID bill
The National Identification and Registration Bill seeks to introduce a single and integrated biometric national identification system (NIS) for anyone who finds themselves within the borders of South Africa, be they permanent residents or “foreigners who sojourn temporarily within the Republic”.
It proposes a single centralized system, “to provide for the compilation and maintenance of a population register and identification database; to provide for the assignment of national identity numbers and reference numbers; to provide for the issuance of national identity cards and temporary identity, deaths, births and marriage certificates; and to provide for matters connected therewith.”
Presently, South Africa has three databases for recording people within the country: the national population register, the biometric National Identity System, and the Visa Adjudication System (VAS). The bill seeks to unite these into one biometric registry, and to decrease the legal age at which a registered ID document is required, to ten years of age. It would also bring a gender-neutral option to national ID cards.
Cabinet approved the bill’s publication for public comment in late February. The deadline for written submissions communicated through mail, email, or fax is June 30.
In tandem with the National Identification and Registration Bill, the DHA is also inviting comments on the draft One Stop Border Post Bill, 2022. South Africa is currently expanding biometric capabilities at its border control checkpoints.
The Department of Home Affairs recently drew criticism for its birth registration system, which human rights groups have challenged in court, calling its requirements unconstitutional.