A select few South Africans were presented with their new smart card IDs last month. With the rest of SA expected to apply soon, Perdeby conducted a survey to see how many students were aware of the new smart card IDs. Only 39% of students were aware of the new IDs, but 70% of those students felt that the new IDs are a positive change for South Africa.

The new smart card IDs were officially introduced in July. The new ID cards resemble a driver’s licence and are said to have “impenetrable features”. According to the Department of Home Affairs, the new ID cards will make identity scams and forgery nearly impossible.

Minister of Home Affairs Naledi Pandor said that the new ID cards have two security features. The first feature is a physical one, involving holograms, laser engravings and personal details which will allow for visual verification of the card and would allow for the easy identification of tampered cards. The second feature is a “logical security feature” which includes embedded fingerprint biometrics and biographic data in the ID card’s chip. In layman’s terms, this is the capturing and storing of data which is unique to individuals, such as fingerprints and even DNA.

Student opinion on the matter varied somewhat. Ruani Oberholzer, a first-year industrial engineering student, said that it’s good when a country like South Africa is raising its standard to keep up with the latest initiatives. However, not everyone feels that the new IDs are necessary. Aaron Facoline, a first-year mechanical engineering student, said that he was not aware of the new IDs. He said that the improvement of the security of ID cards is a good thing, but added that no security system is foolproof. “Someone will find a way to get past it,” he said, and added that, “Money and effort can be put into more important matters.”

During a media briefing on 4 July Pandor said that, when introducing the first implementation stages of the new smart card IDs, it is expected to take between six and eight years before all South Africans will have the new IDs. The new ID cards will coexist with the old green barcoded ID books during this transition phase.

Applicants will receive their new IDs in about 14 working days, according to SouthAfrica.info. This is a far better turnaround time than the 54 days estimated for the production of the green barcoded ID books.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, senior citizens above the age of 80 will be the first to be issued with the new ID cards. Thereafter, applicants will be invited to apply according to their date of birth.

The SABC reported that several government officials and senior citizens were handed their new IDs on 18 July this year. Among those were President Jacob Zuma, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, former presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk, archbishop Desmond Tutu and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Although the new IDs do not need to be renewed, you will, however, need to apply for a new smart card ID if you lose the card or if the card is damaged. In instances where your name changes as a result of marriage, divorce, or for any other reason, the department advises that you apply for a new smart card ID. In either circumstance, you will need to pay for the new ID card.

According to SouthAfrica.info, Pandor expects the public to be invited to take part in the process in October, by which time the department aims to have 27 pilot offices installed with the necessary technology to process the new smart cards IDs.

Perdeby has compiled a list of what you will need as soon as you are allowed to apply for your new smart card ID.

First time ID applicants will not be charged a fee for their new smart card IDs, but current Tuks students will have to apply for the new ID and will need the following:

1. An issuing fee of R140. If you are a South African citizen, you will need your current green barcoded ID, birth certificate and proof of address. If you are a permanent resident in the country, you will need to bring your current green barcoded ID, permanent residence certificate and proof of address.

2. It is also expected of you to give in your old green barcoded ID for it to be cancelled.

3. Applicants will not need to bring photographs with them when applying. Instead, the application office will cater for the ID photographs.

4. According to Home Affairs, if the application is a successful and “straightforward” one, you should receive your new ID card within 14 working days of applying and you will need to collect it from the same office where you applied.

5. Tuks students will have three options in Gauteng where they can apply: Byron Place in Pretoria, Harrison Street in Johannesburg, and Soweto.

6. The card will display your names, gender, citizenship status, date of birth and ID number.

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