eNatis crash disrupts car licensing centres

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The Electronic Management System has been dogged by controversy, with Telkom threatening to disconnect the system by yesterday because of a failure by Tasima, the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s operating company, to pay it R8-million for data services.

Yesterday 39 licensing centres across the country were brought down by a series of computer technical glitches.

The problems, which also affected the Post Office, left motorists frustrated and caused endless queues as motorists and car manufacturers battled to register and license vehicles and obtain driver licences and permits.

The issue – which affected licensing offices in Gauteng, Limpopo, North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga – is believed to have been caused by Tasima’s failure to respond to a series of technical problems.

Yesterday morning RTMC chief executive Makhosini Msibi said Tasima confirmed a partial payment of the R8-million owed to Telkom and promised there would be no disruptions to the system.

“The public should not panic, we have made arrangements and ensured that we have [a] risk management plan. It will not happen.”

But, despite Msibi’s attempts to allay public fears, the system still crashed.

RTMC spokesman Simon Zwane confirmed yesterday that eNatis sites were experiencing problems.

“We have received reports that a number of sites were not functioning properly. Some were completely offline. Hundreds of people were unable to complete their transactions.”

The RTMC and Tasima are locked in a court battle over the operation of the system, with the Constitutional Court ruling in November that an extension of the contract to Tasima was illegal. The court ordered Tasima to hand over the system to RTMC but this has not yet happened.

Tasima’s CEO Daneshkumar Narah failed to respond to questions from The Times on the glitches, which saw criminals capitalising on the system failure.

At the Florida licensing centre in Gauteng, where security guards turned away scores of people, 58-year-old Johannesburg resident Ronny Moodley was swindled out of more than R4,000 when he was promised help to renew his driver’s licence.

“They wanted R450 and promised to bring out the documentation so I could attach my fingerprints, before they disappeared into the centre. I then received a call on my cellphone from somebody purporting to be calling from inside saying my documents had been processed but I had traffic fines blocking my licence. He asked me to give one of the guys R3,500 to clear the fines.”

Moodley said he complied and that was the last time he saw the person…and his money.

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