South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has published a draft of its new official identity management policy, which is open for public comment until 28 February.
The new policy aims to introduce a National Identity System (NIS) in South Africa as a way of guarding against identity theft, as well as to digitise identity management. The NIS will contain information about the identity of citizens and non-citizens of South Africa, and will have options for ID numbers that take into account transgender, non-binary and intersex people.
Currently, the seventh digit in South African ID numbers identifies a person’s sex. A seventh digit between 0 and 4 “means the holder of the ID is a female,” while a seventh digit between 5 and 9 “means the holder of the ID is a male”.
New options include randomised ID numbers and the introduction of an additional third category for intersex people.