'White Widow' investigation ongoing

Minister Naledi Pandor refused to be drawn on the exact details of the inquiry.

An image of a fake South African passport belonging to British national Samantha Lewthwaite aka the White Widow was released by Kenyan police in 2011. Picture: AFP

Pandor refused to be drawn on the exact details of the inquiry at a justice, crime prevention and security cluster briefing in Pretoria earlier today, only saying an announcement will be made when her department is ready.

She says South Africans have no need to worry about security breaches when it comes to the acquisition of passports, because this has been improved.

"We have improved all the security with respect to acquisition of a passport as well as all the procedures relevant to application for a passport and checking, utilizing biometric checks as to the background of persons."

NEW ID CARDS

Pandor told 567 CapeTalk that the new cards currently being rolled out in South Africa are sophisticated compared to the green ID book.

"It's a secure card in contrast to our ID books which are handled by human beings. People can fraudulently place details on the ID books; you can't do that with the card."

President Jacob Zuma, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have already received their smart cards.

"We've began the first phase now with the opening of three offices, two in Gauteng and one in Cape Town. We are beginning with 100,000 persons, made up of senior citizens, first time applicants, Members of Parliament and some of the leading personalities in the country."

LEWTHWAITE PRAISES BIN LADEN

In October Sky News reported that British national Samantha Lewthwaite, who is still on the run following the Nairobi mall attack, has warned that al-Qaeda is stronger and fiercer than ever.

According to the report, she also pledges to continue the fight to bring terror to the West.

In an ode to Bin Laden found by police on a computer in her Kenyan home, Lewthwaite said her love for the mastermind of the 9/11 attack "is like no other".

Lewthwaite is reported to have links to the deadly four day siege on the Westgate Mall in Kenya, and had used a fraudulently obtained South African passport two years ago.

She remains on Interpol's most wanted list.