• Short Summary

    INTRODUCTION: South Africa's government has unveiled plans to fingerprint the entire adult population, partly to counter guerrilla infiltration.

  • Description

    SCU South African Interior Minister Chris Heunis speaking in English

    GVs & CUs Reporter asking Mrs. Helen Suzman, Civil Rights spokesman, questions and receiving replies on the ID debate (3 shots)


    HEUNIS: (SEQ 1) "Now it is true that, for the moment, behaviour of people in the conduct of their business, the document that is being issued today is sufficient for these purposes, but it is also accepted that there is only one way in which it can be irrefutably proved what the identity if of person and have his -- by the production of his fingerprints. We have to limit and to eliminate at all is we can, the falsification of documentation, for instance drivers' licenses. We have to curtail the activities of people that intend to infiltrated our strategic installations and also our key installations in South Africa of national importance. And therefore it is obligatory that they be properly identified, without any doubt as to the identity."

    HAMILTON: (SEQ 2) "What are your basic objections to this draft Bill?"

    SUZMAN: "Well first of all I think it takes us even more into the ranks of regimented countries, and I have a very basic objection to that. And secondly, I don't see the necessity for it. I can't understand why the entire nation has got to be fingerprinted for I.D. cards. It's bad enough that blacks up till now, have had to have their reference books with fingerprints, and I believe what should be done is an I.D. card for everybody. I have no objection to that at all, but without fingerprints and simply containing the basic information that could be required of an identification document."

    HAMILTON: "The government also say that this removes another aspect of discrimination, that if all population groups have a similar identity card, this is another way of saying that there is no discrimination against blacks."

    SUZMAN: "Yes, well of course that's a really specious argument because, I mean to say that you're doing away with discrimination by extending a particularly offensive side of discrimination from black people to the rest of the population is absurd. What they should do, as I say, is to remove the fingerprinting from all I.D. documents and of course, if they wish to remove discrimination, then the identity document should not be used as an instrument for restricting the mobility of black people, which it does at eh present stage.



    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: INTRODUCTION: South Africa's government has unveiled plans to fingerprint the entire adult population, partly to counter guerrilla infiltration. Under the draft Bill gazette on Wednesday (14 January) all new applicants for identity and other legal document, including driving and gun licenses or marriage certificates, as well as anyone renewing them, will have fingerprints taken. The Bill, also aimed at compiling an up-to-date population register, additionally provides for introduction of a uniform identity document for all race groups, but that facet is for future implementation. At present, whites and non-whites carry different documents, issued at the age of 16. The report, compiled by Visnews correspondent Kevin Hamilton, includes criticism of the proposal by Helen Suzman, civil rights spokesman, for the Progressive Federal Party, but begins with a justification from South Africa's Internal Affairs Minister, Mr. Chris Heunis.

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