South Africans eligible for a new Smart ID card will be able to apply online from 7 April 2016, a spokesperson has told MyBroadband.
Those who wish to apply will be able to do so using the new e-Channel portal on the Home Affairs website.
Home Affairs first announced the e-Channel portal in 2015, saying it planned to trial the system with banks.
“Consolidating the restoration of national identity, citizenship, and dignity to all South Africans,” is Home Affairs’ mission with the Smart ID and eChannel.
According to the department, the portal lets citizens:
- Submit application forms online
- Upload supporting documents
- Make online payments
- Schedule Home Affairs branch visits
Around 140 Home Affairs offices around the country are set up to issue Smart IDs.
While the portal will allow citizens to submit most documentation online, a visit to a Home Affairs office is needed to submit required photos and fingerprints.
The department promised it is also making long queues at its offices a thing of the past.
Big bugs had to be squashed
Our tests of the new e-Channel portal in March revealed that it still has a few bugs that have to be worked out.
One time PINs sent to the cellphone number you specify when you register for an account on the portal took awhile to deliver.
It also didn’t work in Google’s Chrome browser or on Firefox in Ubuntu, both of which give the following worrying error:
“A secure connection cannot be established because this site uses an unsupported protocol or cipher suite. This is likely to be caused when the server needs RC4, which is no longer considered secure.”
Firefox for Windows and Mac did not give the error, but warned that the connection to the eChannel portal is potentially insecure.
The Department of Home Affairs has sent out invitations to the e-Channel launch, to be held at Gallagher Estate.
While the event is scheduled to begin at 09:30 on Thursday, 7 April 2016, the department has not confirmed the exact launch time of the e-Channel portal launch.