South Africa’s largest banking group Absa has signed an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs to join a trial to enable customers to apply for a smart ID cards and passports.
The Department of Home Affairs launched its Smart ID pilot programme with FNB and Standard Bank on 30 September 2015.
Employees of the banks will be able to get their new Smart IDs at special Home Affairs facilities set up inside the branches.
Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba said at the time that smart ID services from the banks will open to the public once Home Affairs is satisfied everything is working as it should.
On Thursday Gigaba noted that Absa has since joined the pilot.
“Previously we reported that we have launched a pilot project with three out of the four major financial institutions – namely First National Bank, Standard Bank and Nedbank – to expand our footprint while ensuring convenient accessibility of our products by our clients.
“We have since signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ABSA, bringing the total of major banks participating in the pilot to four,” the minister said.
He said that each of the aforementioned banks provided the department with three sites, making it 12 sites in total, for purposes of piloting the eChannel module for a live capture system.
The minister added that he remains concerned about the number of uncollected IDs and Smart ID cards at the DHA offices.
In December, News24 reported that almost 200,000 newly issued smart ID cards were gathering dust at Home Affairs offices around the country.
A Smart ID costs the same as the old ID book. Your first one is free, and a reissue is priced at R140. Everyone trading in their ID book for an ID card will have to pay R140, though.
Gigaba said that both the green bar-coded IDs and Smart ID cards will be acceptable as legal forms of identity for purposes of voter registration and voting in 2016.