Manage your personal portfolio for smooth life navigation

It's advisable to ditch the green book ID and get the smart card ID to ensure future transactions or travel plans run smoothly.

YOUR life is documented and numbered from your birth to your death and getting your personal paperwork in order is vital for your legal welfare, travel and emigration.

As much as we hate the rigmarole, frustration, steely determination and time necessary to accomplish the task, this is the recommendation of Jacqui Bristow, owner of Precision Risk Management, Margaret Hirsch Women in Business Achiever of the year finalist and guest speaker at the Hirsch’s Hillcrest businesswomen networking morning last week.

Sage advice considering the onslaught of emigration enquiries and documentation requirements now in South Africa and abroad.


Jacqui Bristow, is the April Margaret Hirsch Woman In Business Award for the month winner. Hirsch’s Jonathan Brauteseth gave her a framed certificate art the recent Hirsch’s Hillcrest businesswomen networking morning.


Smart card ID

“Green ID documents are being replaced by the smart card ID due to various reasons including our biggest factor in South Africa, fraud,” said Bristow.

The smart card ID is currently only for South African born citizens and not for immigrants.

“It is strongly recommended that people apply for their smart card IDs as this is digital and a little more difficult for people to cut out the photo of the ID holder and replace it with their own photos in the green ID book (as has been happening in the past).”

Children under the age of 18 years applying for an ID, whether it’s the first time or due to loss, must have both parents present for application.

Both parents also have to accompany a child under the age of 18 years for passport application.

All children 15 years and over have to collect the ID and passports personally.

It is important to keep your ID pristine and intact (not washed/damaged) as this is seen as a tampered document.

“Only banks in Gauteng are processing smart card IDs and passport applications at this stage.”

Married certificates

Women who are married but do not have an ID with their spouse’s surname, must renew it as this will cause future problems with bank accounts when the bank picks up a different surname from the one reflected on identity documents. It could also have an adverse effect in winding up estates should anything happen and the ID does not have the correct surname.

“Marriage Certificates are being converted to Unabridged Marriage Certificates which are also printed versions of the old marriage certificates placed in ID documents and the handwritten ones that many people have. These are used for travelling abroad especially to Shengan states and are also required for immigrating,” Bristow said.

Should you get divorced, the divorce decree is essential.

Bristow said things start getting trickier regarding divorces, death, estrangements and single parents as there are various factors that come into play and she deals which each case separately.


Work locally and abroad

Should you wish to become a teacher abroad you need to have all your documents and certificates certified and legalised.

Many companies in South Africa and overseas are now asking for matric certificates, even if you are already employed in the company, due to many people not being honest in their CVs.

Children and travel

Children under the age of 18 years must travel with an unabridged birth certificate, whether accompanied by parent/guardian or on their own.

The unabridged birth certificate is a legal (printed) document issued by Department of Home affairs. It has the child’s details as well as the mother and father’s details.

Should the child under 18 years travel without one parent, it is imperative that full permission is given by the other parent.

Should the mother or father’s details not be on the birth certificate for various valid reasons, only permission from the one parent is required.

Bristow said the new rule is that both parents have to be present at the application of ID and passport for a child under the age of 18 years. “But there are certain exceptions to this rule, again specific to each case.”


What is a vault document and an unabridged document

A Vault Copy of a document is the original document for birth, marriage or death. “This document is a handwritten document at the offset and is naturally kept under lock and key. When requested, only a copy certified by the department will be provided.



Bristow also warns of fly-by-night people offering to assist people with their documentation as many have come to her after being conned.

Navigating the minefield and explosion of red tape, is not for the faint-hearted and Bristow assists people to get things right.



Your personal paperwork portfolio should contain originals of the following:

Matric Certificate (Grade 12 Certificate)

All tertiary education Certificates (degrees/collage certificates)

Unabridged Birth Certificate (printed and vault copies)

If married (unabridged marriage certificate and handwritten marriage certificate)

If divorced – Divorce Decree If remarried new unabridged marriage certificate and handwritten marriage certificate

Parents birth certificates and marriage certificate

Children birth certificates

Your will and testament

Certified copies of your ID document

Certified copies of your driver’s licence

Certified copies of your passport document

If you were not born in South Africa but now a resident, a Permanent residency letter.



Identity theft has increased by 200 per cent in six years

In South Africa identity theft contributed to the loss of R1bn from local companies in 2014 alone.

The SA Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) found 3 600 cases of identity theft in 2014 with growing numbers recorded in 2015 and 2016.

Executive director of SAFPS, Manie van Schalkwyk, said the scale of identity theft was rising as more and more transactions were done electronically.

Identity fraud has grown to include theft of cell and landline phone services; cable and satellite television services; power, water, gas and electricity; Internet and data services; medical insurance; home mortgages and rental housing car financing and other forms of financing and loans as well as government benefits.

The crime has increased by more than 200 per cent in six years, Van Schalkwyk said.


Shared documents

He says catching the thieves is incredibly difficult as they pass themselves off as legitimate consumers very convincingly. Criminals use an ID, often changing the photo and open bank accounts, purchase on credit and apply for loans.

“People usually find out that they have become a victim of identity crime when they hear from a credit provider or debt collector about an account or debt they know nothing about,” Van Schalkwyk said.

Key advice is to treat your ID book, driver’s licence and personal documents as you would treat cash.

Do not leave them lying around the house or in the car.

Shred documents before tossing them in the bin and clear mailboxes regularly, particularly if you live in a housing complex where there are multiple mail boxes in one area.


Executive director of SAFPS, Manie van Schalkwyk

Phishing for loot

“Don’t ever click on web links received via SMS or e-mail unless you have initiated the transaction and you are comfortable that it has been sent from an authentic source.”

Consumers must also be on high alert when they receive an SMS or e-mail asking them to click on a link to update their personal information or account details – criminals use online methods commonly known as ‘phishing’ scams to gain access to bank account and personal details,” he said.

Consumers should be extra cautious about sharing their personal information, especially when applying for services online by always checking that the site is secure, as denoted by the ‘s’ (https) and select the appropriate privacy settings on social media sites.

“Consumers also regularly fall victim to several types of advance fee fraud and often divulge their personal details in the hope of winning a prize in a competition that they never entered, or entering into business or investment relationships which seem too good to be true.”


What to do

If you suspect that you have been impersonated, Van Schalkwyk says, you need to contact the organisation which will advise you about the steps to take to prove your innocence and clear your name.

If you are aware of having misplaced your ID book, credit card or other means of identification you can contact SAFPS which will assist you in applying for a Protective Registration on the SAFPS database.

Van Schalkwyk said, “The benefit of Protective Registration is that all member organisations, including banks, clothing and furniture retailers and some insurance companies, have access to the SAFPS data base and any identity theft or fraud will be flagged and can be prevented.

This is a free service and consumers are encouraged to use it.”

To apply for Protective Registration (PR) victims can SMS the word “Protectid” to 43366 to be contacted; or call 011 867 2234 or 0860 101248 or email [email protected]


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Michelle Dennis

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