The Deputy Minister of the Department of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, announced the completion of the Back Record Conversion in October 2006, heralding a new era of national identity management for South Africa. Led by the Ideco Group, the project delivered over 32 million paper-based fingerprint records in a digital format.
The Back Record Conversion (BRC) involved the world's largest digital conversion of over 41 million paper fingerprint records and was initiated as part of the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS). Its core objective was to convert existing hardcopy fingerprint records to allow for faster and more accurate identification of persons.
The BRC, which commenced in May 2005 exceeded all expectations due to the accuracy and speed with which the project was completed.
Ideco's effort to complete the entire conversion of all records is considered by the Department of Home Affairs to be the most ambitious identity management undertaking in southern Africa yet.
According to Mufamadi, "Sequencing the Project was a pioneering venture in South Africa with risks and uncertainties. The BRC is the largest conversion of records in the world and its success has created a revolution by transforming the principles of identity management far beyond what was originally enthused. We have opened the door into a new era of managing national IDs, immigration, border control, driver's licences and pensions."
Besides delivering on the stated goals, the Ideco team has produced an array of advances that most had not anticipated. These accomplishments include an advanced form of national identity management that would result in less identity fraud; easier and faster access to information and faster, more accurate identification of persons. As a result of the BRC, voting in future will be fingerprint-based and more efficient, and pensions will be paid out faster and to the right people.
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