Home Affairs Minister Aaron Matsoaledi says his department is proposing new legislation that would allow people as young as 10 to obtain identity cards in South Africa.

This is one of the measures he wants to implement to strengthen passport security in the country.

Speaking at the National Council of Provinces on Thursday (August 25), the interior minister called for tighter border protection and additional requirements for obtaining important identification and travel documents in the country.

One of the anti-fraud mechanisms is this have more people in the internal affairs databasehe said.

To achieve this, the minister said the department would propose new legislation give people the opportunity to get an ID card at age 10 rather than waiting until the age of 16.

A minister has complained that South Africa’s passport security has become a “laughing stock” after several high-profile incidents of document forgery came to light.

Motsoaledi said that the country’s passport was once respected around the world. However, the security of the passport is in doubt and “people laugh and joke” when they see processes being circumvented.

The minister noted the cases of detection of fake documents from citizens of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Benin, which devalued the document at the international level.

As part of the department’s fight against fraud, the minister said document mechanisms are being migrated to the Automatic Biometric Information System (ABIS), which will expand the current system to record a person’s fingerprints, photo and palm. , facial recognition, and iris scanning.

Earlier in August, Motsoaledi announced that additional security measures were being taken to ensure the safety of the passport.

The first of these measures is an end to transfers and third-party collections and a new activation process that can only be completed by the applicant.

Motsoaledi said passport applications currently allow for the document to be obtained from any office in the country if applicants ask for it to be handed over. It also allows a third party to pick up the passport.

The government allowed this because “people are in a hurry,” especially in business, Motsoaledi said. “There is not always time, so outsiders were allowed in,” he said. “Unfortunately, this benefit has been revoked,” the minister said.

New rules:

  • The passport can be obtained only at the branch where the application was submitted. You will have to return to the same office to pick it up.
  • Only the person who applied for the passport can pick up the passport.
  • Passports will be activated based on a fingerprint – it will be compared with a photograph. Once collected, everything must be matched against data in the national identity database.
  • For minors, only parents or legal guardians can apply and obtain them using the same methods.

Motsoaledi said this new process is the same method used for smart ID cards.

A South African’s biometrics (fingerprints) and their own photo have previously been used by foreign nationals with fake passports to bypass security checks, he said.

“On the day you come to get your passport, you have to give your fingerprint, the department will look at your face and issue you a passport – everything has to match,” Motsoaledi said.

“It will certainly cause problems for travellers, but that is the price South Africans have to pay because we want it – the passport – to be respected again.”

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