As the former President of South Africa recovers in hospital, having fought for and overseen the breakdown of apartheid in his country, it’s somehow fitting that Mr Mandela was among the first to receive the country’s new identification (ID) smart cards recently. Coinciding with International Nelson Mandela Day, other notable recipients of the smart technology included Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, President Jacob Zuma, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and former presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk.
Tutu himself commented on how far the country has traveled when you contrast the smart card with the dompas (apartheid passbook). Instead of a green paper-based (and politically-charged) book that was open to fraud, the smart ID card has embedded security with biometric data that is unique to each citizen. Working closely with the Government Printing Works (GPW) of South Africa, Gemalto supplied them with Sealys eID cards, selected for the secure embedded software to protect the holder’s image and biometric data within the secure identity e-document.
It’s a great privilege that Gemalto is part of this technology revolution designed to modernize and replace South Africa’s traditional, paper-based identity documentation. With our local presence in Johannesburg we take even more pleasure in seeing some of the benefits first hand.
In the same way that Nelson Mandela fought for integrity and privacy for all of South Africa’s citizens, it’s important that that national ID cards assure all citizens the same safety and security. We look forward to rolling out smart ID cards to more South Africans.
Watch here for a video of the recipients receiving their smart ID cards