Govt upgrades Natis

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 05 Apr 2007

The Department of Transport has shut down the National Traffic Information System (Natis) for an upgrade. The system is 14 years old and has severe technical limitations.

"Age and the technological limitations of Natis have forced the Department of Transport to embark on a project to replace the current technology with more advanced technology," the department says.

Natis is seen "as a key resource to provide effective road traffic management". It is used at more than 1 753 sites throughout the country to register, deregister and check the ownership of vehicles. It performs about 40 000 transactions per hour with a turnover of R3 billion per annum.

The upgrade, dubbed eNatis, will utilise state-of-the-art technology that will be compatible with a variety of anticipated systems enhancements, the department says. Examples cited include specialised transactions designed to limit visits by the public to traffic departments, by allowing transactions over the Internet and via automated teller machines.

The system will also allow for the introduction of the administrative adjudication of road traffic offences system and online registration of vehicles by financial institutions.

Strategic resource

<B>Important dates</B>

Data extraction day (today) - Natis is shut down and data is copied and couriered to Midrand, where the eNatis data centre is located. Once all the data is copied off the Natis, the system will be restarted and will only be available for enquiries.
Changeover period (6 to 12 April) - Data is loaded onto eNatis and system readiness is tested.
eDate (13 April) - eNatis goes live in test phase
eNatis launch (17 April) - Transport minister Jeff Radebe officially launches eNatis

eNatis will also provide a new module that will manage driver and learner licence bookings online and in real-time. The system will validate examiners, testing centres and appointments, and prevent unscrupulous officials from abusing the system by extorting money from the public in order to obtain driving licence appointments.

"As a strategic resource for the Road Traffic Management Corporation and Road Traffic Infringement Agencies, the eNatis will ensure all infringements are centralised within the eNatis database to provide improved service with regard to the payment of traffic fines, etc," the department adds.

The department chose the Easter period for implementation because of its abundance of public holidays and consequently lower anticipated usage.

"Of critical importance was that service delivery should not be affected and that every effort should be made not to inconvenience the South African public," the department adds. It is anticipated that road-traffic-related services will be unavailable for two days.

The system was tested in a provincial-level dry run in December and on a larger scale on 12 March. The cost of the upgrade could not immediately be established.

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