Radebe to meet AG on eNatis

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 07 Jun 2007

Transport minister Jeff Radebe will meet the auditor-general on Monday to discuss a damning report on the electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) that was the subject of much media reporting last week.

"We will, thereafter, issue a joint communiqu'e and provide the much-needed clarity and detail on this matter," Radebe told the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) yesterday.

The report found security was weak, meaning it was possible to hack into eNatis. Passwords were also weak - or absent - and documents on the system were not secured and could easily be circulated.

Radebe denied this was the case. "I can confirm, however, that the period during which the audit was conducted was June 2006, when the current eNatis was under construction and largely the challenges were overcome during the migration process from the Natis to the eNatis (sic)," he said.

eNatis "operating optimally"

Radebe also insisted eNatis had overcome its teething troubles. He told the NCOP that "...the challenge relating to the capacity of the vehicle registration functionality of the system, which we experienced in April/May, is a thing of the past.

"As I stand before you, the system is stable and operating optimally, performing in excess of 500 000 transactions per day." He did not define what was meant by a "transaction".

"I also want to state that we have invoked clause 26, together with schedule 15 in the contract, which commits the service provider to ensure the smooth transfer of the system to government and system optimisation. Within the next 30 days we shall finalise a transfer management plan and we are confident the transfer will take place within a capped period of 12 months."

Anecdotal evidence

The consumer experience is mixed. Motorist Jared Wright yesterday renewed his driver's licence in Randburg. "It might have been the rain, but I didn't have to stand in a queue once. The only delay I had was with the taking of my photograph," he says.

However, he adds that the official who assisted him said she saw no difference between Natis and eNatis in terms of speed or efficiency.

Fury Toyota Darrenwood sales manager Carlos Matos says the system is now running much better than in early May, when it took up to three weeks to register a new vehicle. But he is still not impressed. "It is not running as smoothly as the previous one," he says of eNatis. "It still has some problems."

Matos says the mooted introduction of vehicle licence renewal by Internet or ATM, in October, may make a crucial difference. "It will be a huge bonus. It will relieve a lot of our problems, because most people will then renew their licences over the Internet and it will just be us dealers in the queue."

Retail Motor Industry Organisation CE Jeff Osborne says it appears the system has stabilised, though it is still a bit slow. He says his organisation met Radebe last week. The minister's team conceded eNatis was not as fast as they wanted it to be "but they are working on it", he says.

A key concern now is staff attitude and an apparent lack of training. "They find every excuse in the book not to function effectively," Osborne notes. He says the transport department is aware of the problem and is putting service level agreements in place for licensing centres. "That's the only way to deal with it. It is a service delivery issue."

Related stories:
Tasima, eNatis contract extended
DA wants another go at eNatis
Security fears hit eNatis
DA demands eNatis report
DA slams Radebe's eNatis 'spin'
Eskom blamed for latest eNatis woes
BCX to rescue eNatis
Fooling nobody
eNatis is up, but
Parliamentary committee questions eNatis
eNatis blame game starts
eNatis hurts arivia deal
Govt stats show eNatis success