South African firm Bytes Systems Integration (BSI) has won a 220-million rand ($18 million) tender to support the South African Post Office (SAPO) with biometric technology as it gets ready to take over the payment of social security grants.

The BSI solution will see citizen’s identities being verified through biometric technology that connects directly, and in realtime, to the Home Affairs National Identification System (Hanis), as well as the SAPO biometric verification engine.

The technology also caters for the verification of a person’s full names while a copy of the person’s photo held in the Hanis database is provided to assist in resolving so-called false negatives.

“Our appointment by SAPO to partner with them to provide this vital service is great for our society as our technology is designed to support local companies facing local challenges, and we are pleased the biometric solution will assist SAPO to have a positive impact on people’s lives, eliminating forgery and criminal activity in the grant dispensation process,” says Leslie Moodley, MD of Bytes Systems Integration.

“SAPO has, along with most of South Africa’s big banks, chosen Lumidigm fingerprint readers from Bytes Systems Integration because of its fingerprint capturing technology, known as Multispectral Imaging (MSI), which integrates with Hanis.

Unlike the surface fingerprint characteristics that can be obscured by moisture, dirt or wear, the “inner fingerprint” is unaltered beneath the surface.

“When surface fingerprint information is combined with subsurface fingerprint information and reassembled in an intelligent and integrated manner, the results are more consistent and more inclusive,” Moodley adds.

Following an agreement signed in December between SAPO and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), SAPO is set to take over paying grants to some 17-million South African grant recipients.