Official insists biometrics needed for South African welfare
06 March 2017 15:52 GMT

A senior South African official has outlined how biometrics will be crucial in authenticating recipients of a new social welfare payments card system.

Lumka Oliphant, the acting CEO of the Executive Authority of the Department of Social Development and its agency the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), made the announcement this week.

She said that the South African system “ has seen the worst form of abuse and theft”, and this is why biometrics are so crucial towards getting the process right.

“This is the reason biometric verification must be at the centre of recipient authentication as advised by the Taylor Committee report in 2002 and I will not backdown on this requirement.”

Oliphant added that so far biometrics has saved R2 billion  (US$153 million) and has provided SASSA “with an accurate and a secure transaction environment”.

She added the work of SASSA has influenced the banking sector through the Payment Association of South Africa (PASA) to adopt a biometric standard for the industry.

“The ultimate goal is that SASSA should provide an integrated grant administration and payment process. This entails SASSA as acquiring SASSA's own Payment Card which can operate in an open and closed system underpinned by the use of Biometric authentication system”, she concluded.

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