South Africa shows the way on transfer payments

MasterCard issues 10m debit cards for SA social grants (Gadget)

This milestone marks the conclusion of the re-registration phase of the project, with social grant beneficiaries having received their new Debit MasterCard cards with biometric functionality, issued by Grindrod Bank, in association with SASSA and Net1 UEPS Technologies (Net1).

Since March 2012, just under 22 million social grant beneficiaries have re-registered onto the new system introduced by SASSA to minimise fraudulent grant applications and collections and reduce grant administration costs by distributing all grant payments electronically.

South Africa: Social grants spokesperson deems biometric technology “a worthy investment”

Analysis: State of the art technology behind SA’s social grants (The New Age)

The latest biometric technology used by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to disburse social grants to about 16 million beneficiaries on a monthly basis is proving to be a worthy investment in making life easier for beneficiaries of social grants.

The number of beneficiaries of social grants in South Africa grew from 2 million in 1994 to about 16 million in February 2013. Of these an estimated 11 million are Child Support Grant beneficiaries.

Since March 2012, Sassa has been engaged in the process of mass enrolment of all beneficiaries using the latest biometric technology. This followed a major announcement by Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini on behalf of the government. The technology includes finger and palm verification as well as voice recognition to ensure that the grant money is paid to the relevant beneficiary at all times.

I didn’t realize that the number of people Sassa has to keep up with had expanded eight-fold in less than twenty years. It’s probably a god idea to automate fraud detection in a disbursements organization that is growing as rapidly as that. Otherwise, it’s hard to see how a fraud detection system that depended upon old-school detective types could keep up. Creating the human capital and cultural climate for their success is a long and expensive process.

A couple of municipal fingerprint time-and-attendance deployments going badly

INDIA: SDMC staff misusing biometric attendance system (Jagran Post)

According to the sources, most of the Municipal Corporation staff has given their fake thumb impressions to their colleagues who mark their attendance in their absence. Some workers raised the issue before the higher authorities but all the efforts went in vain.

SOUTH AFRICA: Council pays for unused system (Independent Online)

The costs are mounting, yet an electronic time management system installed to provide efficiency and control in the Hibiscus Coast municipality, almost three years ago, has still not been used. The biometric system which reads the fingerprints of workers to record what time they start and finish, was supposed to replace the current manual attendance register.

A lot of biometric ID management installations come down to managerial, rather than technical, challenges. This is especially true for biometric time-and-attendance systems.

Technically, biometric time-and-attendance systems are pretty straightforward but they can’t manage a business all by themselves. An organization that wants to maximize its Return on Investment in biometric ID management systems, will view the technology as a tool supporting able managers, not as a substitute for managerial skill.

For similar thoughts and other examples, see:
Business Management & Biometric Time-and-Attendance (I took the two paragraphs just above from this one);

Good Help is Hard to Find;

UK pays £22.5 million for ‘questionable’ Democratic Republic of Congo election; and

Technology and Management working together can help improve public payments system

South Africa to modernize border

Plan for new border agency at ‘advanced stage’ (Business Day)

“Many countries have taken steps to ensure that there is integrated management of borders to prevent traffic in illicit goods and passage of illegal foreign nationals,” she said. “We are developing a white paper that will be presented to the Cabinet. The agency will ensure greater co-ordination and better border management.”

Addressing the media for the first time since she took over the portfolio from Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Ms Pandor said her department was on track with its modernisation processes, which included upgrading IT infrastructure; live capture systems for identity documents, passports, permits and visas; and the new national population register system that would carry records of births and citizens.

South Africa leading the way on government payments to individuals

Social Security And Welfare Payments Go Biometric (Fast Company)

In order to receive government aid, South Africans now have to get biometric finger and voice scans. It’s high tech, cuts down on fraud, saves the government money… and is coming to the United States sooner than you’d think.

MasterCard is playing a large role in the South African effort…

South Africa: Serious about ID Management

20m ghost ID books in SA (IT Web)

“Stats SA reckons there are 28 million people aged over 21. The IEC [Independent Electoral Commission] has 23 million registered voters. However, the credit bureaus have 38 million people registered, meaning they have 38 million identities. Bear in mind that they might be over the age of 18, eligible to vote, and old enough to feature in the Stats SA data of those over 16.

“So that doesn’t seem to tie up…

New biometric payment cards for South African social grant recipients offer greater security and convenience

The new system is dramatically reducing SASSA’s operating costs. Until now, it has cost SASSA between R26 ($3.25) and R35 ($4.38) per grant to pay beneficiaries. Under the new agreement, disbursement costs will be capped at R16.50 ($2.07) per payment, enabling the agency to save up to R3bn ($375m) in operating costs over the next five years. This means that the agency will be able to spend its budget allocation more effectively in the future, making a meaningful difference in the lives of more South Africans.
“The early success of the project rollout affirms MasterCard’s vision to create a world beyond cash, as electronic payments using debit MasterCards opens up a world of financial inclusion for many South Africans who have previously not had access to banking products,” says Dries Zietsman, Country Manager, MasterCard South Africa.

“With over 2.5 million cards already issued since rollout in March 2012, it is clear that the cards are already being widely accepted by beneficiaries who are realising the benefits of a cashless environment,” he concludes.

South Africa Seeks to Curb Social Security Leakage with Biometric ID

State tightens up on social grants (IOL News)

From the beginning of June, the agency started a full re-registration of all social grant beneficiaries “on a comprehensive biometric identification system”.

Social development director general Vusi Madonsela said the number of beneficiaries who might be receiving grants fraudulently was not known.

“We can only estimate, based on international standards… that there is an estimated 10 percent leakage.

It’s notoriously difficult to estimate losses due to fraud because, in any individual transactions, if the bureaucracy knew it was being defrauded, it wouldn’t engage in the transaction.

This is the first time I’ve seen a reference to the ten percent standard global estimate. That’s as good a place as any to begin a return on investment analysis.

South Africa has been very active in strengthening its ID management infrastructure.

Good Help is Hard to Find

A lot of really good thinking about ID and biometrics comes out of South Africa. In the piece linked below, Marius Coetzee makes some points with which we wholeheartedly agree.

Smart IDs alone cannot tackle fraud

Marius Coetzee, MD of biometric identity control specialist Ideco, says smart identity cards will improve identification processes through the use of biometrics, but they cannot solve the identity fraud problem on their own.

“We’ve been in this game for the past 10 years. We have seen companies publish tenders for solutions and spend a lot of money on a pilot, only to see poor results. Biometrics is an extremely complex science – if you implement it correctly, working with the right partners, you will see results. If you don’t, you will simply waste money.”

ID management technology is a tool managers can use to make certain business processes more efficient, saving the organization money. No technology can manage a business all by itself.

And, of course, as with so many other things, a good partner can make all the difference. The problem is that the larger biometrics vendors don’t really want to be that partner for any normally-sized or price sensitive organization and other organizations that could really take advantage of better ID management systems have difficulty finding the partners they need because the expertise is in small companies. Biometrics hasn’t been Oracle’d, SAP’ed, Microsoftened or IBM’d, yet, and it’s going to be a while before that changes.

Until then, SecurLinx is here to help.

More on South Africa & Biometrics

Identity control is IT reality (IT Web – S. Africa)

“SA is a world leader in the use of biometrics. The future must be co-operation and not isolation. There must be an integration of security expertise. Identity control is an IT reality.”

He added that the use of fingerprints allows physical access, cuts losses, reduces risk, has proven ROI, increases security and accelerates processes.

To address the enormous risks associated with cards, PINs and passwords, organisations must authenticate, authorise and audit.

Other posts dealing with South Africa…

South Africa: Biometrics Elections by 2014

ID smartcards by next elections (Engineering News)

She said the aim of a pilot project, currently underway, was to test how accurate the new system was, and whether it was ready for the phase-in stages.

A national identity system would capture biometric and biographic details of all South Africans and foreign nationals.

In the next 18 months of the pilot project, the department would start issuing the smart cards to all first-time applicants, Dlamini-Zuma said. Later, the department would recall the green identity books to replace them with smart cards.

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