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ID smart cards could prevent fake marriages, says Motsoaledi

Motsoaledi told Eyewitness News that the green bar-coded ID was vulnerable to security breaches leading to instances of identity duplication to the detriment of unsuspecting victims.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi apologizes to marriage fraud victim Nomathamsanqa Swartbooi for what happened to her. 14 years ago, Swartbooi found out her ID was duplicated and was married to someone she never met. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Tuesday the full roll-out of the smart identity cards should bring about an end to cases of fraudulent marriages.

Motsoaledi told Eyewitness News that the green bar-coded ID was vulnerable to security breaches leading to instances of identity duplication to the detriment of unsuspecting victims.

This follows an EWN exposé, which found that many women had been trapped in fake marriages.

WATCH: ‘I'm married to someone that I don’t know’ - Marriage fraud victim speaks out

Nothamasanqu Swartbooi walked a difficult road she said she does not wish on anyone.

“The treatment that I got from Home Affairs was unbearable. I went through depression because of this,” she said.

For fourteen years she was proclaimed as married by the department with her cries falling on deaf ears.

Motsoaledi said this would not have been the case if she had the new smart card ID.

“Part of this happens because of green IDs, but with the new IDs, you won’t be able to do this.”

Of the total 38 million people eligible for the smart card ID, only fifteen million South Africans have converted their IDs so far, while the government's capacity is limited to three million applications a year.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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