Smart ID cards in SA – is the system already being defrauded?

Home Affairs on Wednesday noted with concern “misleading reports” alleging “minister Malusi Gigaba had intentionally misled the nation by implying that no fraud or corruption had been detected during the roll-out of the smart ID card”.

These‚ a statement said‚ “deliberately intend to misrepresent a presentation made to the Home Affairs Parliamentary Committee by Gauteng provincial manager‚ Albert Matsaung”.

On Monday‚ RDM News Wire quoted the Democratic Alliance’s Haniff Hoosen as saying that either Gigaba “is lying‚ or he is in absolute denial that the new smart ID system is corruptible and needs to be improved”.

Hoosen said Gigaba’s contention that “no corruption cases have been detected during the roll-out of the smart ID card process” had been contradicted by Matsuang‚ who told MPs that there “were more than 60 cases of fraud and corruption” connected to the new card system.

Home Affairs said on Wednesday that Matsaung “clarified that the fraudulent instances he had alluded to had occurred during applications for green barcoded identity documents and not during applications for Smart ID cards”.

The statement said the Gauteng department had “implemented a strategy within its smart card offices of confirmation before going through the smart card process and verification prior to issuance”.

“This would apply‚ in particular‚ to cases where the applicant is suspected to be a non-South African‚” it added.

“Since the implementation of the strategy‚ various offices identified suspected cases where green barcoded IDs that had been fraudulently acquired were used to apply for smart ID cards.

“However‚ due to the tightened security measures‚ which include the submission of biometrics during the collection phase‚ the applicants failed to collect their documents upon request to appear at offices of application.”

It went on to list the offices that had registered suspected cases:

  • Byron’s Place in Pretoria retrieved one card where the applicant failed to confirm her nationality and thus the document could not be issued;
  • Harrison Street in Johannesburg handed over 64 cases of suspected fraud for investigation; and
  • Vanderbjilpark identified two smart ID card applications “by a Zimbabwean couple who failed to fulfil set security requirements”.

“Home Affairs maintains its initial stance that the introduction of the smart ID card remains the best solution to challenges that were experienced previously through the manipulation of the application processes for the green barcoded ID book.”

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Smart ID cards in SA – is the system already being defrauded?