Government plans to develop ‘online identity card’ for all South Africans

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The Department of Communications and Digital Technology has released its draft National Data and Cloud Policy for public consultation, outlining the government’s plan to move to online systems.

The policy includes the proposal to create an online identity for South Africans, as well as increased public-private data sharing as a way to improve service delivery and uplift people.

“At the heart of digital transformation is the development of an online identity for all citizens in support of service delivery and economic empowerment,” the department states.

He adds that government and private sector organizations are transforming their service delivery models, moving them to digital realms, ensuring that citizens and customers can access services securely anytime, anywhere and through any network. any device.

The ministry said non-sensitive government data should also be made available to all citizens to enable innovation and the development of digital solutions that can solve societal problems.

These solutions and innovations could also help the government speed up the delivery of services to all citizens, he said.

The Home Office said in March it was working on a new biometric system that will form the art of the government’s new digital-focused identity management policy.

A draft identity management policy published by the Ministry of the Interior in January 2021 provides additional information on the operation of the national identification system.

“It is currently possible for anyone who has not requested ID to successfully claim and use the identity of another person who has also not requested ID,” says the policy statement.

He explained that this is possible because the biometric data of South African children are not captured after birth.

“DHA currently has no way of reliably verifying that a child who presents a birth certificate as proof of identity when interacting with the department – ​​for example, when applying for ID for the first time – is really the person whose birth certificate is intended to certify.

“Any child can claim the identity of another child and such cases have been recorded.”

To address these and other issues, the DHA has made the following recommendations:

  • Records of people throughout their life, including capturing the biometrics of children at birth. If this is not possible, a parent’s biometrics must be linked to a child’s birth certificate;
  • Parent-based ID numbers. Ideally, these numbers should also be linked to their parents’ identity numbers and the mother’s biometric data;
  • Re-enrollment of children at age five and where possible, a child’s biometrics should be collected at birth. A combination of different biometrics for children will be considered with options such as ear photography;


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