SA smart ID card launch scheduled for Mandela Day

The launch of so-called smart ID cards and the opening of a new bridge are among activities set to take place on Mandela Day, Cabinet announced on Tuesday.

“As part of… Nelson Mandela Day, the phased roll-out of the smart ID card will be launched,” acting Cabinet spokeswoman Phumla Williams said in a statement, issued after last week’s fortnightly Cabinet meeting.

Mandela Day, also known as Nelson Mandela International Day, is celebrated each year on July 18, the former president’s birthday.

This year will be his 95th. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in 2009.

Williams said Cabinet joined the rest of South Africa and the world in praying for the man dubbed the father of the nation.

“At this difficult time, let us all show love and compassion and make Madiba proud.”

Mandela remains critically ill in the Pretoria Hospital he was rushed to last month. He is suffering from a recurring lung infection.

Williams said the roll out of the new ID cards would start on July 18.

“This launch is a significant break with our past and the end of the passbook era in South Africa. The smart ID is a contactless [sic] card with a capability to accommodate information from various stakeholders now and in future.”

Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor would, “in due course”, provide more details in a series of briefings.

In May this year, Pandor said the roll out of identity smart cards would start at 27 regional offices, and target new applicants and those applying to have their identity documents re-issued.

She said at the time it would take six to seven years to completely phase out the old green identity books with the new credit-card size ID.

Cabinet on Tuesday called on South Africans to volunteer 67 minutes of their time on July 18, to “help change their communities and South Africa for the better”.

It said this year’s event would have the theme “Take action; inspire change; make every day a Mandela Day”, with a focus on food security, shelter and literacy.

It also welcomed the launch in July of the basic education department’s campaign, 94+ Projects for Madiba.

“The campaign aims to improve infrastructure in over 94 schools to become state-of-the-art institutions of quality learning.

“During Mandela Month, from July 2013, the department will be leading the handover of completed new schools per week as part of the commitment to improve quality basic education.”

Cabinet also announced the handing over of a bridge in the Eastern Cape village of Mvezo, where Mandela was born in 1918.

“Cabinet welcomes the completion and handover of the Nkosi Dalibhunga Mandela Legacy Bridge to the Mvezo community.”

The ceremony would be led by the former president’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, and take place on July 18.

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SA smart ID card launch scheduled for Mandela Day