It is expected that smart ID cards will be in use by the next general elections, the home affairs department said on Thursday (17/05/2012).
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in Pretoria that by 2014 some South Africans would be using the smart cards instead of the green identity book.
A pilot project was already underway.
"The IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) is aware of the process and they are making sure that they are ready.”
The smart card, which is the size of a drivers’ licence card, would have a picture of the owner, a barcode, and a microchip.
Banks, businesses or other credit providers who needed people’s identity details would have to purchase small verification machines. These would scan a person’s fingerprint, allowing the user to determine if the person was the card’s rightful owner.
The department said the verification machines would cost between R30 and R100, depending on the level of sophistication. Police or metro police would have mobile versions of the devices.
Dlamini-Zuma said it would be useless for a person to steal someone’s smart card as they would not be able to use it, since the fingerprints would not match. She said the cards had hidden security measures which would make duplication impossible.
"There is no way you can duplicate this card.” - Sapa