Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu was elated to receive his ID smartcard on Thursday morning. Home affairs minister Naledi Pandor handed the card to him in an envelope outside the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation building in Cape Town.
Wearing warm, casual clothes instead of his iconic purple robes, Tutu closely inspected the card and then erupted with laughter. “This is the card and yes, it’s got my mother’s nose. I think Zapiro [the cartoonist] would probably be quite happy,” he told reporters.
“When you contrast this with the dompas [apartheid passbook], you realise actually just how far we have travelled and the great honour that you give me to bring mine.”
Tutu joked that there was now trouble in his household because his wife Leah was asking where her ID smartcard was. He marvelled at how light it felt.
“That we should have the technical ability to do this. You know, sometimes we take some of these things for granted. There are very many good things about our country and here is one of them; that you can have all the information about an individual captured in a card.”
Pandor said she had asked several leaders to be the “pioneering guinea pigs” for the smart ID, which would eventually replace ID books.
Earlier in the month, former president Nelson Mandela received his ID smartcard as he celebrated his 95th birthday.
Other recipients of the first batch of cards include president Jacob Zuma, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and former presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk. — Sapa