‘Is the smart ID free?’ South Africans want to keep green ID books

South Africans are adamant about keeping their green ID books and don’t to replace them with smart ID cards.


South Africans also revealed on social media platform X that they won’t give up their green ID books if they’re being charged to replace them.

This comes after Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed to e.tv that his department would soon announce that South Africa’s old green ID books were no longer valid.

“We want to do away with the green barcode ID. We think it’s long enough that we’ve kept dual identity documents.”

“Very soon, we will make an announcement that we will keep one, and the other (green barcode) becomes invalid,” says Motsoaledi.

Smart IDs cards contain a microchip that stores a citizen’s data, such as biometric information. The cards are only available to people born in South Africa and not naturalised citizens.


Solutions director of LAWtrust, Maeson Maherry tells My Broadband that South Africa’s Smart ID card is one of the most advanced IDs in the world.

“Many countries around the world are starting to realise that an identity credential must interact into the digital world. That has led to chip-based ID cards and even chip-based passports.”

Biometric data is secured on the card, so your fingerprints may be matched to it offline. This can be used to unlock a digital certificate – also secured on the card – which may be used to digitally sign transactions.


@michellemaistry3170: “They can forget me changing to the card system if they expect payment to do so. A waste of taxpayers’ money.”

@Mlu_taj: “They better give me that smart ID for free because I’m not paying for it.”

@NonzwakaziNthab: “They have to make it convenient because kana why do I have to stand in line for more than 8 hours to get a card ID? That’s more likely to get lost like other cards?”

@Mlu_tai: “The fact that it lives in your wallet means it’s in a space of 19 years. You might have to replace it multiple times versus green book which is safe at home.”

@ZGoasu: “And also, they must deliver it because we are not going to those long ques of Home Affairs.”

@iamStoby: “They’ll have to come and collect it from my house. I’ll only go to Home Affairs mangiyoshada (missing).”

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