The Department of Home Affairs has announced that it plans to roll-out a new Births, Marriages and Deaths (BMD) system as part of its ongoing modernisation effort.
In a press conference held on Wednesday morning (11 July) in Pretoria, Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba said that the major system upgrade will begin on Friday afternoon (13 July).
He added that the upgrade will be rolled out in two phases, with the first stage set to include the automation of birth for children under the age of one, the reprinting of marriage and death certificates, and the printing of parent details on child passports.
“Birth registration for children 0 to one year will be automated, meaning that clients will no longer complete paper forms for birth registration,” he said.
“This will be more convenient for our clients and will reduce opportunities for corruption and fraud.
“Once we have completed the upgrade and fully implemented in the identified offices, the details of children will be printed in the children’s passports. In this way, the department will have delivered also on the earlier Cabinet concession of easing travel with children,” he said.
The second phase will include registration for children one and older, and new registrations for marriage and deaths, he said.
In May, Home Affairs officially announced plans to launch a new Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS).
The department said that the ABIS will act as a fundamental baseline for the broader National Identification System (HANIS) and will consolidate South African and foreign nationals’ data into a single base.
“The grand plan seeks to integrate HANIS and the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) into an automated system through ABIS with the capability to identify and verify people through fingerprints, facial recognition and IRIS technology,” it said.
Gigaba said that there may be ‘minimal’ disruptions in Home Affairs offices as it rolled out the new system over the coming week.
He also confirmed that its live capture system is currently experiencing downtime due to interruptions to its power supply, caused by a UPS that failed some time on Tuesday.
Services affected include those relating to application and collection of smart ID cards and passports.
The department said that technicians are currently on site and in the time being has switched over to its disaster recovery site, which would allow services to resume.
It further apologised to citizens and clients for the inconvenience, particularly those requiring their enabling documents urgently.
“Disaster recovery efforts are underway and we expect systems to be fully online by end of business today,” it said