Smart ID card printers ‘ready to roll’


10 July 2013

The state-of-the-art facilities at the Government Printing Works in Pretoria are ready to roll ahead of the launch of South Africa’s new smart ID cards on 18 July, says Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor.

On Tuesday, Pandor and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe inspected the machines that will be used to print the country’s new ID cards.

The launch of the new tech-savvy smart ID cards will coincide with former president Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, and also kick-start Neslon Mandela International Day activities across the country.

Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for the Home Affairs Department, said three regional offices would be handle the new cards until the end of August, when the number of offices would increase to 27 as the general public stepped up applications for the new IDs.

On Women’s Day, 9 August, four machines costing R40-million would be commissioned to produce the cards. They would be named after struggle icons Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Sophie de Bruyn and Rahima Moosa, all of whom led the Women’s March to the Union Buildings in 1956.

First-time applicants will receive their cards for free, while South Africans replacing their current green bar-coded ID books will pay R140 to get the smart ID card – the same as the current ID replacement cost.

President Jacob Zuma, Motlanthe, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will be among the first recipients of the new card.

During Tuesday’s site visit, Government Printing Works CEO Joe Engelbrech took Motlanthe through the step-by-step process involving in producing the cards.

The most important security feature on the cards will be fingerprint biometrics and biographic data, which will make it extremely difficult to forge them.

“We are confident that we have the best and our documents will not be forged,” Motlanthe told reporters after the tour.

Pandor said: “We are very excited that the Deputy President has visited our facilities today and we are excited that on 18 July he will be among the first recipients of the smart cards.

“We may be certain that we have the best facilities … We believe we have excellent material with high security features, and anyone who thinks they can defraud the cards will have to really tamper with them,” Pandor said.

Officials say the new cards will take five to 10 days to produce and deliver, compared with the current 47 days for paper documents.