Home Affairs wants to start collecting and selling your personal data – and charging for it

On 30 June, the ANC’s National Executive Committee will meet to review ANC policy and makes recommendations on amendments or new policies to the National Conference.

As highlighted in an analysis by the Daily Maverick, one of the key policies will be the the party’s “Peace and Stability” discussion document . The majority of this 31-page discussion document seeks to group together national security, managing identity, and the economy under a single Home Affairs umbrella.

This new restructuring would include Home Affairs taking steps towards becoming completely self-sustainable – raising its own funds through an increase in fees currently charged for IDs, passports, birth and death certificates as well as a new nation-wide form of identity “vetting”.

These will be collected under a formal umbrella known as the  National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

This vetting will see you charged for some day-to-day transactions  requiring proof of identity, which are then verified biometrically through Home Affairs to confirm legitimacy. According to the discussion document, the charges themselves will be minor, but when the millions of the hits to the system are added up, could “grow to be very large”.

As highlighted by the Daily Maverick, the types of transactions you can expect to pay range anywhere between a R1 and R4 a charge and can be attached to anything from bank transactions to airline tickets, school registrations, hospital check-ins and social grant collections.

The go-ahead 

While the NSSF had remained purely in the realm of the discussion document, it took a major step towards reality during President Zuma’s parliamentary questions and answers session on 22 June.

During the session, President Zuma directly tackled the proposed National Social Security Fund, revealing more about how government plans to tackle the subject.

The proposed National Social Security Fund (NSSF) will operate as a national fund responsible for administering mandatory contributions from all workers for the provision of retirement, death and disability benefits, Zuma said.

“The fund will serve as a single platform through which all workers can make regular social security contributions while they are still working to avoid falling into poverty in the event of retirement or disability.”

All income earners will be required to participate, and this will foster social solidarity and the sharing of risks among all workers. Furthermore, the Fund will provide an income to the dependants of all contributors who happen to die before retirement.”

Zuma said that the NSSF would bring with it a number of benefits, “guaranteed to protect contributors and foster social solidarity”.

This will include a contribution subsidy to support low-income earners and reduce the burden on their disposable income.

“At present, the existing retirement benefit schemes are based on defined contributions rather than defined benefits,” said Zuma.

“This means that the contributors have no guarantee of how much their benefits will be, and they face the risk of losing their savings in the event of poor market performance.”

“In contrast, the Fund will carry the risk of poor investment performance on behalf of individual contributors, and thus provide assurance of a guaranteed benefit to all workers and their households.”

Privacy 

While the majority of the document is primarily monetary focused, there is also a number of key paragraphs surrounding the use of private information.

“The operational model proposed has a back office where decisions are made in respect of the service applied for and which can lead to a change of civic or immigration data. Key components of the back office will be a rules-based risk engine that will quality-assure, verify data and investigate exceptions,” reads the discussion document.

“Policy, legal, research, statistical and analysis units will support this work and draw tactical and strategic lessons that will be used to mitigate risks, counter threats and address systemic faults in partnerships with relevant departments.”

“Applications will be made through various front-office channels that are user-friendly and fully digitized, with clear security protocols and escalations. Channels might be online or provided by third parties trained by the DHA, such as other departments or banks.”

As such there is now a tacit understanding that government will have access to your most personal data and use said data to help  streamline service delivery, expand outreach and aid those most in need.

It will also become a key source of revenue, according to the document, with “the sale of identity services and products (being) another large revenue stream, with potential partners including GPW, the CSIR and private sector companies.”

“Policy, legal, research, statistical and analysis units will support this work and draw tactical and strategic lessons that will be used to mitigate risks, counter threats and address systemic faults in partnerships with relevant departments,” said the document.


  • Home Affairs had not responded to comment at the time of writing.

Read: New minister planning to digitise home affairs, root out corruption

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Home Affairs wants to start collecting and selling your personal data – and charging for it