The South African Identity Federation (SAFIRE) was formed as a joint project of the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET), the SANReN Competency Area at the CSIR Meraka Institute (SCA), and the Association of South African University Directors of Information Technology (ASAUDIT) with the aim of establishing federated identity services to serve the needs of the research and higher education communities in South Africa.
TENET act as the juristic person of record for SAFIRE. As a result, SAFIRE’s assets are owned by TENET and all SAFIRE’s staff are employed by TENET. Ultimately accountability, therefore, exists with TENET’s Board. However, TENET’s Board has granted the project significant operational autonomy.
SAFIRE recognises two categories of beneficiaries: members and participants. Members are identity providers that contribute financially towards SAFIRE. Participants are identity providers and service providers who make use of SAFIRE’s services. Members have voting rights; participants do not.
Strategic oversight of the project has been delegated to a Steering Committee which is a formal committee of TENET’s Board that consists of nominated representatives of the original stakeholders (TENET, SCA, ASAUDIT), the SAFIRE Project Director, and some representatives elected by the Members of the Federation.
In addition, there exists a larger SAFIRE Participants’ Forum. All identity and service providers are entitled to participate in this forum, which serves to facilitate community consultation. It feeds recommendations on strategy, operations, and service levels back to to the Steering Committee for their consideration. It is also the forum at which Members elect representatives to the Steering Committee.
The project employs a Project Director who is responsible for implementing the strategic direction of the Steering Committee, and for the day-to-day operations of the Federation.