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Finger trouble spoils eNatis success

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 26 Nov 2007

Finger trouble, as well as faulty fingerprinting and non-standard photographs, are causing delays in the issuing of credit card-style drivers` licences, and has resulted in some being issued reflecting incorrect information, says transport minister Jeff Radebe.

Answering a question in Parliament, the minister said 33 996 licences could not be re-issued because of "errors regarding fingerprints or photos of the applicants, which did not comply with the minimum [quality] requirements".

He added that it was "important to note that these problems are not occurring as a result of the malfunctioning of the electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis), but is rather due to errors that occur during the data capturing process by the 400 driving licence testing centres (DLTCs) throughout the nine provinces, which then cause delays in the processing of driving licence cards".

Radebe said 539 485 drivers` licences were ordered during July, August and September this year. "Only 446 (0.08%) of these driving licence cards were reordered and paid for by the DLTC, which is probably due to errors made by operators at the DLTCs from where cards were ordered."

Errors, he noted, can only occur during data capturing at the DLTC. "Either the applicant might supply incorrect information on the application form, but more likely, the operator may capture the information incorrectly.

"If this occurs, the incorrect information will be transferred electronically to the card production facility (CPF) and driving licence cards with incorrect information will be produced."

He added that his department "has largely succeeded to remove human error through validations built into the software, but [this] is not possible in all cases, particularly in the cases where new information has to be captured as part of a new application.

"In addition, DLTCs are monitored through the CPF, and centres that report above-average reprints are assisted through corrective measures and training."

Radebe also said his department "is continuously improving the eNatis software, as well as the software used at the CPF to eliminate scenarios where cards containing incorrect information are produced".

The CPF is operated by the Prodiba Consortium, which initially included arivia.kom subsidiary Face Technologies (also part of the Tasima Consortium that developed eNatis), Kobitech (representing Schabir Shaik`s Nkobi Holdings) and Thomson CSF (later renamed Thales). Kobitech has since left the consortium.

The Sunday Times reported in June that a five-year contract awarded in the 1990s was renewed in controversial circumstances in 2004 "by an official who did not have the authority to renew it". The renewal of the contract came under fire from Scopa and the Auditor-General.

Related stories:
Gauteng addresses licence backlog
Two nabbed for eNatis fraud
eNatis posts new records
Mpumalanga goes eNatis

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