South Africans will now be paying an assessed amount of R5.2 billion to government’s smart ID card roll-out. In accordance to the latest statistics, there are 52.98 million people in south Africa of which 29.2 percent are 15 years of age and younger, this means that the country has 37.5 million with an ID.EACH OF them will have to pay R140 to apply for a new smart card.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) said that 16-years-olds who are first time applicants will get their smart ID’s for free, while all other applicants will be expected to pay R140. The communication deputy, DG Vusi Mkhize, said that this amount is equivalent to the old green ID book.
Earlier in May, home affairs minister Naledi Pandor said in her budget vote that the smart ID card will form part of an overall IT modernization programme, for which more than R348 million had been allocated in this financial year, up from the R214 million for last year.
Later on, The DHA granted a R40 million deal to Altech Card Solutions to provide the Government Printing Works with card personalization equipment, while a contract estimated to be worth R199 million was awarded to Gemalto Southern Africa to supply pre-printed polycarbonate cards, containing a contactless microchip.
Manny de Freitas, DA shadow minister of home affairs asserts government should be distributing the first smart ID cards for free to all South Africans, seeing as this is an entirely new system and having an ID document is mandatory, but notes that there has been a budget limitation that cannot favor his preference.
“There is no way the ministry will be able to afford to issue the [smart ID] card to millions of people. That’s the bottom line; they won’t have the budget for it,” says De Freitas.
The home affairs minister also said that a system where citizens can apply for free will be availed as long as they can prove they cannot afford it.
Roll-out to the general public will start with first-time identity document applicants and senior citizens.