Over a million smart-ID cards have been issued in less than a year, home affairs director general Mkuseli Apleni said on Wednesday.
“We are confident of reaching the target of 1.6 million [smart-ID] cards by the end of 2014/15 financial year,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery in Johannesburg.
“We are really moving, considering this process only started in 2013.”
The department was implementing a programme to make its systems faster and more secure.
“It used to take 54 days for you to get an ID book. Now with the new smart-ID card it takes less than 10 days,” Apleni said.
Of the 403 home affairs offices, 110 were equipped with a “live capture” system for processing smart-ID cards and new passports. By March it was expected that 140 offices would have the new technology.
The smart-ID cards could only be issued at the offices where the new live capture system was in place. This had resulted in long queues at some of these stations.
Apleni said the old green ID books remained valid. These could be applied for at offices that had not yet migrated to the new system.
The bandwidth required for optimum functioning of the live capture system remained a problem.
It was in talks with the State Information Technology Agency and Telkom to find ways to provide greater bandwidth, optic fibre cables, and prevent cable theft in metropolitan areas.
The department was also making provision to deal with power cuts.
“We conduct scheduled systems upgrades and make provision for sufficient capacity generators to ensure systems are able to function even when there are power outages around the country,” he said.