The first batch of smart ID cards will be issued to a list of eminent South Africans this month, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said on Thursday.
She announced that on Mandela Day, July 18, the smart cards would be issued to individuals including President Jacob Zuma, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and former president Thabo Mbeki.
“We are prioritising the Mandela generation, those veterans in their 80s and 90s, whom we wish to honour while they are with us in person.
“In terms of delivery to the broader public, we will in due course announce plans to roll out to the general public, focusing on young South Africans as first-time applicants for the identity documents, as well as senior citizens.”
It would take between six to eight years before all South Africans had smart ID cards.
“We appeal to everyone to be patient and allow us to phase in this change efficiently. We will expand the number of offices able to process applications for the smart ID card. We hope all South Africans will work with us to ensure we succeed in this significant national project.”
To avoid a rush for the new ID cards, Pandor said applicants would be invited to home affairs offices in stages, according to their ages.
On Women’s Day, her department would commission four machines to produce the ID cards. The machines would be named after Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Sophie de Bruyn, and Rahima Moosa.
Home affairs was still working to determine the cost of the smart cards.
Pandor said the smart ID card was “technologically impressive”.
“It has… security features, such as holograms, laser engraving and personal details which will provide visual verification of the card.
“There are logical security features which include fingerprint biometrics and biographic data which is embedded on the 80 kilobyte card chip,” she said.