Home Affairs to launch new identification system – with iris and facial recognition coming

Minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba has announced that he plans to launch a new Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) on Wednesday (16 May).

The new identification system will be powered by a sustainable technology and will offer a single view of citizens across the life cycle and their status change at various stages.

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.

According to the department’s 2018/2019 annual performance plan, it expects the AFIS data migration into ABIS to be completed within the 2018/19 financial year, with iris and palm-print recognition capabilities beginning to come online by 2019/20.

The new systems form part of an ongoing revamp of home affairs offices around the country.

In April, Gigaba said that he had directed his department to prepare a comprehensive report and strategy on managing long queues at home affairs offices across the country.

This minister noted that he had been inundated with calls from members of the public regarding time spent at offices for documents like smart ID cards, passports and certificates.

“A comprehensive report and effective strategy on how to deal with this matter swiftly are a high priority as the department remains committed to delivering high quality services to citizens and other clients,” he said.

Read: New laws and spending are needed to fix South Africa’s massive migration problem: officials

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Home Affairs to launch new identification system – with iris and facial recognition coming