eNatis collects its share

Paul Vecchiatto
By Paul Vecchiatto, ITWeb Cape Town correspondent
Cape Town, 12 Jun 2008

The electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) has generated R4.8 billion through the licensing of vehicles, and the number of monthly transactions handled by the system has doubled to 600 000 compared to the old system.

This is according to Department of Transport (DOT) director-general Mpumi Mpofu, who addressed a parliamentary media briefing yesterday, following her department's appearance before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Mpofu said the total value of revenue collection during the six years of eNatis' development was more than R25 billion, while total costs to develop and implement the system had hit R594 million during the period.

"As long as the total costs for eNatis remain within 2%-2.5% of total revenue collected, then we are happy," Mpofu said.

Hard lessons

Alongside her was auditor-general Terence Nombembe, who said the lessons learned, especially during the troubled deployment of eNatis last year, had been taken into account and would be used for the roll-out of other large government IT systems.

He said, currently, the only other large-scale government system being developed was the National Treasury's Integrated Financial Management System, which would move state accounting from cash accounting to an accrual accounting system.

"Lessons learned during the early stages include proper project management, security in the form of disaster recovery management and who has legitimate access to the system," he said.

Nombembe said the issue of rigorous testing of the system, before final deployment, was also important.

Mpofu said the scale of eNatis made it impossible to test the system completely before it was rolled out. "To do so would have meant that we would have spent double the amount on the system."

According to Mpofu, the DOT had resolved all the auditor-general's 105 findings from the 2006/7 report that was based on the pre-production of the system. The four subsequent findings raised in the 2007/8 report have also been resolved, she noted. One of the solutions was to upgrade the server capacity of the system.

Escalating expenses

The increased cost of eNatis was due to an expanded mandate, Mpofu said, and not due to cost overruns. The original cost was R311 million, plus VAT of R46 million. Then there was R93 million spent on hardware and R44 million on software, and another R39 million for additional eNatis sites, as requested by the provinces and municipalities. There was an increase of R4.6 million caused by the fluctuating exchange rate and R51 million due to consumer price inflation.

System developer Tashima is paid R6 million per month for the ongoing work on eNatis and this includes the development of increased functionality, such as the proposed deployment whereby motorists can pay for vehicle licences via ATMs.

Mpofu said eNatis would be transferred to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, because it is the cornerstone of the country's vehicle law enforcement system and would be linked in with the driver licence merit and demerit system that was being developed.

She said the transfer would be done by the State IT Agency and take between six to 12 months, following the completion of a risk assessment as demanded by National Treasury.

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