What do new national IDs in Lesotho and South Africa mean?

Published: 25/Jul/2013
Source: South African Institute of International Affairs

By Tšoeu Petlane

National identity, a sense of belonging and the right to citizenship are fundamental human rights. In South Africa last week, in addition to celebrating the 95th birthday of Africa’s living legend, Nelson Mandela, the government also started rolling out “smart” national identity documents (IDs). These secure, tamper-resistant documents were issued to, among others, senior political activists who were at the forefront of the struggle against Apartheid. It has also been hailed as another step on the way to consolidating inclusive and non-racial citizenship – in contrast, for example, to apartheid-era documents that limited the movement and employment of many in this country.

Similarly, this month Lesotho started issuing comparable national IDs that would consolidate all important information about its citizens in one secure document. This is aimed at cleaning the national citizen database and ensuring that abuse of the country’s official documents (mainly in the form of passports) ends.

Read on SAIIA website.

Themes: Dual Nationality, Identity Documents, ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Southern Africa, Lesotho, South Africa
Year: 2013