Home Affairs plans to go ‘paperless’ in South Africa – here are the changes you can expect

Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says that his department is working on a number of tech-focused features, with plans to take some services digital.

Answering in a recent written parliamentary Q&A, Motsoaledi said that the department will also introduce a number of changes which are aimed at increased identity security for citizens.

“The department has partnered with the Department of Health (DoH) to ensure that each child is allocated with a birth certificate on the spot, by registering birth at health facilities.

“This will curb identity theft from the onset as an ID number gets allocated and remains with the child for life. The primary purpose is to ensure a credible population register, not vulnerable to theft and fraud.”

With ‘live capture’, Motsoaledi said that the department is able to identify applicants through online verification which has a direct interface with the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS) to identify persons through biometrics.

“Furthermore, during the collection of smart identity cards, online verification is also performed to ensure that the correct enabling document is handed over to the appropriate clients.”

Motsoaledi said that the South African Smart ID card and passport also have enhanced security features.

“The department is moving away from paper to a paperless environment. The department is thereby progressively phasing out the manual application process,” he said.

“In addition, in terms of the Departments’ Information Security Policy, a model was built around proactive risk assessment and risk management where all users responsible for registering and capturing births and identity-related applications within the domain of the organization, are assigned with biometric fingerprint authentication, to detect and hold users accountable for fraudulent activities.”

Services available

Home Affairs announced the resumption of a number of services under South Africa’s level 1 lockdown at the start of March.

This comes after several services were temporarily suspended due to concerns around Covid-19 transmissions.

The following services are now available: 

  • Births registration;
  • Re-issuance of births certificates;
  • Late Registration of Birth (LRB) for learners and pensioners only;
  • Death registration;
  • Applications temporary identity certificate (TIC);
  • Collection of identity cards or documents;
  • Applications and collection of passports for those who are exempted to travel;
  • Applications for identity (Smart ID) cards or documents for matriculants only;
  • Re-issues of Smart ID cards and identity documents;
  • Registration and solemnization of marriages;
  • Amendments and rectifications;
  • Late Registration of Birth (LRB) for all categories;
  • Applications and collections of passports for all categories.

“We urge everyone who visits our offices to observe social distancing, sanitise their hands regularly and to wear their masks properly, covering their noses and mouths,” Motsoaledi said.

“Nobody will be allowed into our offices if they are not wearing their masks properly,” he said.

Read: The EU and Dubai are moving towards digital Covid-19 ‘passports’ – what you should know

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Home Affairs plans to go ‘paperless’ in South Africa – here are the changes you can expect