Identification Act, 1997
To provide for the compilation and maintenance of a population register in respect of the population of the Republic; for the issue of identity cards and certain certificates to persons whose particulars are included in the population register; and for matters connected therewith.
(English text signed by the President.)
(Assented to 26 November 1997.)
as amended by
Be it enacted by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, as follows:―
Arrangement of sections
Interpretation and Application of Act
1. In this Act, unless the context otherwise indicates—
Utilising of information for purposes of Act
Application of Act
Assigrunent of functions to officials
4. (1) The Director-General may—
(3) A delegation under subsection (1)(a) does not prevent the Director-General from exercising the power in question himself or herself.
(4) A delegation or authority granted under a provision which is repealed by section 24 and which was in force immediately before the commencement of this Act, shall be deemed to have been granted under this section.
Compilation and maintenance of population register
5. (1) The Director-General shall, as soon as practicable after the commencement of this Act, in the prescribed manner compile and thereafter maintain a population register for the Republic.
(2) The particulars required for the compilation and maintenance of the population register shall be obtained by the Director-General in the prescribed manner from the information referred to in section 2.
Access to population register
6. Subject to the provisions of this Act, no person shall have access to the population register and no person shall record or amend any particulars in such register unless specifically authorised thereto by the Director-General.
Assignment of identity numbers
7. (1) The Director-General shall assign an identity number to every person whose particulars are included in the population register in terms of section 8.
(2) An identity number shall be compiled in the prescribed manner out of figures and shall, in addition to a serial, index and control number, consist of a reproduction, in figure codes, of the following particulars, and no other particulars whatsoever, of the person to whom it has been assigned, namely—
Particulars to be included in population register
8. There shall in respect of any person referred to in section 3, be included in the population register the following relevant particulars available to the Director-General, namely—
9. Every person referred to in section 3 who has attained the age of 16 years shall at his or her own expense furnish two prescribed copies of a recent photograph of himself or herself to the Director-General when—
10. Every person referred to in section 3 who has attained the age of 16 years shall, when he or she applies for an identity card, have his or her fingerprints taken in the prescribed manner so that it may be included in the population register.
Change of ordinary place of residence or postal address and furnishing of particulars to municipalities
11. (1) Every person whose name is included in the population register shall, if he or she attained the age of 16 yeas and an identity card has thereafter been issued to him or her, after any permanent change of his or her ordinary place of residence or his or her postal address, notify the Director-General within the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner of that change of residence or postal address.
(2) If the Director-General on the ground of information at his or her disposal, is of the opinion that a permanent change has occurred in respect of the ordinary place of residence or the postal address of any person whose name is included in the population register, he or she may in the prescribed manner record the change in the population register, in consultation with the person concerned, and shall thereupon notify the person concerned in the prescribed manner that the change has been recorded.
Verification of particulars
12. The Director-General may—
Certificates of certain particulars included in population register
13. (1) The Director-General shall as soon as practicable after the receipt by him or her of an application, issue a birth, marriage or death certificate in the prescribed form after the particulars of such birth, marriage or death were included in the register in terms of section 8 of this Act.
(2) Any certificate issued in terms of subsection (1), shall in all courts of law be prima facie evidence of the particulars set forth therein.
14. An identity card may contain only the following relevant particulars in respect of the person to whom it is issued, namely—
Application for identity card
15. (1) Any person referred to in section 3 who has attained the age of 16 years shall in the prescribed form and within the prescribed period apply for an identity card.
Temporary identity certificates
16. When any person has applied for an identity card, or has for official purposes lodged his or her identity card with the Director-General, the Director-General may on application issue to the person concerned whose particulars are included in the population register in terms of section 8, a temporary identity certificate in the prescribed form and manner, which, for the period and on the conditions mentioned therein, shall for the purpose of this Act be regarded as his or her identity card.
Proof of identity
17. (1) An authorised officer as defined in subsection (3) may at any time request any person reasonably presumed to have attained the age of 16 years to prove his or her identity to that officer by the production of his or her identity card as defined in subsection (4).
(2) If it comes to the attention of an officer acting in the service of the Department of Home Affairs that a person referred to in section 3 who has attained the age of 16 years has not complied with the provisions of section 15(1), that officer shall take the prescribed steps to ensure that that person applies without delay for an identity card in terms of this Act.
(3) For the purposes of this section “authorised officer” means—
(4) For the purposes of subsection (1) “identity card” includes any other proof of identity issued by the State and on which the name and a photograph of the holder appear.
Offences and Penalties
Offences and penalties
18. (1) No person shall—
(2) Any person who—
shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.
(3) A court convicting any person of an offence referred to in subsection (2) shall, if applicable—
(4) The provisions of section 35(2) and (4) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977), shall mutatis mutandis apply to any forfeiture in terms of subsection (3)(b) of this section.
Correction, cancellation and replacement
19. (1) If—
the person concerned or the guardian of the person to whom the card or certificate was issued, as the case may be, shall within the prescribed period hand over or send by registered post the identity card, temporary identity certificate or certificate, as the case may be, to the Director-General.
(2) If the identity card, temporary identity certificate or certificate referred to in subsection (1) is not handed over or sent in accordance with that subsection, the Director-General may in the prescribed manner obtain restoration thereof or seize it.
(3) If by virtue of this section the Director-General has obtained possession of—
(4) When it comes to the attention of the Director-General that an identity card has been issued to a person whose name is not required in terms of section 3 to be included in the population register, the Director-General shall request that person to return the identity card for cancellation.
Surrender or seizure of identity card of deceased person
20. (1) Any person who has in his or her possession a document being or purporting to be an uncanceled identity card of a person who has died, shall within 30 days after the document came into his or her possession, hand over or send by registered post such document for cancellation to the Director-General.
(2) A document handed over or sent to the Director-General in terms of subsection (1), shall without delay after the receipt thereof be cancelled and destroyed in the prescribed manner and, unless a relative of the deceased person indicates in writing that he or she wants it.
(3) When it comes to the attention of the Director-General that any person is in possession of a document being or purporting to be an uncanceled identity card of a person who has died, he or she shall without delay seize that document, and thereupon the provisions of subsection (2) shall mutatis mutandis apply in respect of that document.
21. (1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (2) and (3), no person shall publish or communicate to any other person any information recorded in the population register, an identity card, a temporary identity certificate or any certificate which he or she acquired by virtue of his or her functions in terms of any law, except for the purposes of this Act, judicial proceedings or the performance of his or her functions in terms of any other law, and no person who came into possession of any such information which to his or her knowledge has been communicated to him or her in contravention of the provisions of this section, shall publish the information or communicate it to any other person.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), the Director-General may furnish any information in respect of a person whose name is included in the population register to—
subject to the restrictions, conditions, exclusions, directives and fees as may be prescribed.
(3) No information maybe furnished to any organisation, body, society or institution contemplated in subsection (2) unless the information is required for the exercise or protection of any rights, is in the public interest, or is for the compilation of a voters' roll.
22. (1) The Minister may make regulations as to—
and in general, as to all matters which, in terms of this Act, are required or permitted to be prescribed or which he or she deems necessary or expedient to prescribe in order that the objects of this Act may be achieved.
(2) Any regulations made under subsection (1) may prescribe penalties of a fine or of imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years for any contravention thereof or failure to comply therewith.
(3) A regulation made under a provision repealed by section 24 and which was in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to have been made under this section.
(4) Any fees which may be prescribed under this Act shall be prescribed by the Minister with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance.
Reproduction of documents
23. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law, the Director-General may, in respect of a person or class of persons determined by him or her, reproduce or cause to be reproduced any document from which the population register is compiled or maintained by means of any process which in his or her opinion accurately and durably reproduces such documents, and may preserve or cause to be preserved those reproductions in lieu of such documents.
(2) A reproduction referred to in subsection (1) shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law, for all purposes be deemed to be the original document from which it was reproduced, and a copy of such reproduction which has been certified by the Director-General as a true copy, shall in any court of law be conclusive proof of the contents of the relevant original document.
Repeal of laws
24. The Identification Act, 1986 (Act No. 72 of 1986), the Identification Amendment Act, 1991 (Act No. 21 of 1991), the Identification Amendment Act, 1993 (Act No. 4 of 1993), and the Identification Amendment Act, 1995 (Act No. 47 of 1995), are hereby repealed.
25. (1) Until a date determined by the Minister by notice in the Gazette the Director-General shall continue to issue the green, bar-coded identity documents in accordance with the Identification Act, 1986 (Act No. 72 of 1986), despite the repeal of that Act by section 24.
(2) Any green, bar-coded identity document issued in accordance with the Identification Act, 1986, shall remain valid until it is replaced by an identity card issued in terms of section 14 or until a date contemplated in subsection (4), whichever is the sooner.
(3) As from the date of commencement of the Identification Amendment Act, 2000, all forms of identity documents other than the green, bar-coded identity documents issued in accordance with the Identification Act, 1986, will cease to be valid.
(4) The Minister may by notice in the Gazette fix a date for the replacement of green, bar-coded identity documents referred to in subsection (2) and may make regulations regarding such replacement.
Short title and commencement
26. This Act shall be called the Identification Act, 1997, and shall come into operation on a date set by the President by proclamation.