The Department of Home Affairs issued 2.6 million Smart ID card in the 2016/17 financial year and has set itself a target to issue three million cards this year.

Minister of Home Affairs, Hlengiwe Mkhize, announced this during her department’s budget vote speech in Parliament yesterday.

The department in 2013, then under the leadership of Naledi Pandor, introduced the Smart ID cards to replace the old green barcoded books.

Since then, 6.8 million Smart ID’s have been issued.

In 2015, the department partnered with four of the country’s major banks to set up ID and passport issuing centres for citizens. Mkhize said Home Affairs hopes to strengthen its partnership with the four banks participating in this project.

There are currently 279 Home Affairs offices that to date have been fitted with the new digital system.  The number of offices will be increased by a further 14 offices with paperless, automated issuance of smart ID cards and passports.

Mkhize made no mention of how many bank branches will be added to the existing 12 which issue IDs and passports.

The Home Affairs total budget for 2017/18 is R7.1 billion, of which R1.2 billion was transferred to the IEC and R141 million to the Represented Political Parties Fund.