Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Transport Minister Confirms eNaTIS Incompetence

Transport Minister Jeff Radebe should be commended for his "unreserved" apology for the inconvenience caused by the changeover from the NaTIS to eNaTIS system, but he hasn't explained the incompetence and bad planning that has led to a 6 week crisis at the licensing departments.
  • Why was the changeover done during the busiest month of the year, i.e shortly after year end in the month with the lowest number of working days, and therefore the longest queues?
  • Why was no provision made for offices to stay open longer and/or open on Saturdays? The offices were turning people away long before the office hours closed.
  • Why was it necessary for the old system to be switched off for an entire week, causing inconvenince and generating an immediate backlog?
  • What kind of bad program and database design has forced FOUR server upgrades in 4 weeks?
  • Why was it not possible to revert to the old system when the wheels fell off?
  • What procedures were in place to deal with the paperwork manually while the system was off-line? There appears to have been none.
  • Why has the Dept of Transport been lying to the public about the true status of the system for the last 6 weeks?
  • When will the Minister explain why the system is almost R100 million over budget (R408 million instead of R311 million) and three years late?
  • Why did the license renewal letters sent out in March not mention the planned shutdown of the entire system for the period 5th April to 13th April?
  • The fourth upgrade was announced on Friday, but only completed on Tuesday morning. Does it really take from 6pm on Friday to 8am on Tuesday to set up another server? That's 86 hours, or didn't they work on the weekend?
According to the SAPA report, "Motorists issued with traffic fines because the country's new electronic national traffic information system (eNaTIS) was offline may [possibly] have them cancelled, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday.
Radebe apologised “unreservedly” for the inconvenience the implementation of eNaTIS had caused.
“Motorists already issued with traffic fines due to no fault of their own will have their fines reviewed on merit and considered for cancellation by the relevant traffic authorities,” Radebe said at a press conference on Pretoria.
Over the past few days a new server with bigger capacity had been installed. This and other work had led to the system 'operating in a stable manner' since it was brought back online on Tuesday. [We believe you, but how long are the queues?]
Radebe said more work would be done and the system should be running with stability on almost full capacity by next week.
However, he said, people who wanted to renew their licences could go to testing centres. Arrangements were [only now] being made for centres to operate on extended hours to reduce backlogs. [That's about 6 weeks too late, Mr Radebe!]
Backlogs, technical glitches and shaky, slow systems have been reported at testing stations around the country since the eNaTIS system was introduced last month."

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