THE Ministry of Transport recently launched digitalised vehicle registration and learners and drivers’ licensing systems moving away from the outdated and inefficient manual systems.
The system is expected to help the traffic department reduce its one-year backlog of about 20 000 drivers’ licenses.
The transport ministry’s Principal Secretary, Thabo Motoko, said the new vehicle registration system, branded the electronic national administration traffic information system (eNatis) is a computerised vehicle registration database which bears all the road traffic information ranging from individual vehicles, their owners, the number of cars countrywide, the type of vehicles that are prone to road accidents and the areas where most accidents happen.
Mr Motoko said they would however, be unable to issue all the 20 000 licenses immediately.
“Due to limited resources we are not able to issue all the 20 000 licenses immediately,” Mr Motoko said.
“We will print licenses as and when the applicants come so that we avoid a situation where licenses are printed and no collections are made. A lot of money would have been wasted.”
Mr Motoko said the expectation is to have decentralised the new systems by 1 April 2019.
He said the new system is a marked improvement from the outdated and inefficient system where all their services were manual. He said the new system will enable the department to implement computerised temporary vehicle permits.
“The permits will now be computerised; learner drivers will take their tests on touch computer screens so that their learners’ licenses are released immediately after the test if they have passed.”
“The system will be connected with the Ha Foso vehicle fitness testing centre so that we (the headquarters) are able to immediately access of the vehicle fitness status, who gave the fitness test and the date on which the test was done,” he said.
Mr Motoko said the new system will also enable the department to determine the type of cars which are prone to accidents.
“Through this system we will also be able to determine the type of cars which are mostly involved in road accidents. Certain cars have been reported to be most prone to accidents but the reports have only been speculative because we do not have the statics to support the claim. The new system will help us with accurate reports.
“With the new system we will be able to recognise areas where accidents are prevalent so that preventive measure are implemented to curb the number of accidents,” Mr Motoko said.
Mr Motoko said the new system is expected to be time efficient that clients will no longer wait more than five minutes to get all the service.
“The maximum waiting period for a client will be five minutes. The end-of-day reports will show us if a client gets to wait beyond the five minutes for the service. In the old system one service provider oversaw the whole transaction until the end.
“This sometimes inconvenienced the clients when the service provider was unable to deliver. With the new system, different services will be provided by different people from the vehicle registration up to the issuance of the certificate.”
Mr Motoko said they hope the new system will help improve the revenue collection from the car registration services. He said the new system will also be able to track if a vehicle owner has unregistered vehicles thereby improving their revenue inflows.
“Our car registration and disk renewals revenue collection budget was based on inaccurate estimates. The new system will improve our revenue collection budget estimates and improve our collections because a client will be expected to register all their vehicles unless they make payments for all the cars they own,” Mr Motoko said.
He added that the new system will introduce the new number plates which will use the country’s Coat of Arms instead of the Basotho hat sticker.
“Different number plates will be issued to different members of the public. They will be categorised into the general public, the Members of Parliament, Senators, public transport (taxis and buses),” he said.
Mr Mokoto added that the new drivers’ license issuance will also be prompt owing to the extremely efficient system. He said with new system, first time drivers’ license applicants will wait not longer than three minutes to be issued with a driver’s license from their time of application.
Mr Motoko said that the new licensing system will use the applicant’s identification information as readily availed in the National Identity and Civic Registration (NICR) system.
“The applicant’s identity card will be scanned and only additional information such as the driver’s license code and their height will be added manually. Once that is done and the license is authorised and issued immediately.
“The maximum time for all the processes will be three minutes for a first-time applicant and two minutes for those who are making renewals. This is down from a waiting period of one to two years to get a license,” Mr Motoko said.