In the next year or so, fingerprint and facial recognition technology (in the form of scanners) will be introduced at all major points of entry into South Africa, says the Department of Home Affairs.
The move is part of the Department of Home Affairs digital modernisation programme, which aims to replace the department’s outdated legacy systems and improve security and the length of time it takes to issue citizen documents.
“At our border posts, we will start with fingerprint technology to identify people passing through and that is rolling out in this financial year. The next phase, which implements facial recognition technology, will begin in 2015/16,” said Sello Mmakau, the department’s deputy director general for information systems.
The new biometric identification system will also apparently help frequent travellers get faster access into the country. “If you have been vetted, have no criminal record and are a noted frequent traveller, you will use a quicker gate, which identifies you through technology,” Mmakau explains.