The Democratic Alliance says that charging R140 to issue new smart ID cards in South Africa will place financial strain on the country’s poorest citizens.
The new ID card, which started rolling out on 18 July 2013, will eventually replace the current green ID book, and will include fingerprint biometrics and biographic data security features, embedded on a 80 kilobyte card chip.
The rollout of the smart ID cards is expected to take as much as 6 to 8 years to complete.
It has been confirmed that South Africans will have to pay a fee of R140 to have their green barcoded ID books replaced with the new smart IDs.
“Imposing a new ID system on South Africa’s citizens and then forcing them to pay for it puts a price on citizenship that not everyone can afford,” the DA said in a statement on Thursday (24 October).
The DA said further that if citizens are unable to get a new ID, it will exclude them from the employment market as well as electoral and social security processes once green barcoded ID books are phased out.
According to the political party, minister of home affairs, Naledi Pandor has indicated that she is in discussion with National Treasury with a plan to waive the R140 fee for those who cannot afford it.
“For many South Africans R140 is the difference between survival and starvation. If this fee can be waived for those that cannot afford it, it must,” the DA said.