A safety-enhancing intelligent number plate (INP) system, which was to have been implemented from 1 January this year, is now to go live next January – one year late.

The INP forms part of Gauteng’s R75 million integrated safety and security system, of which little is publicly known.

Ignatius Jacobs, Gauteng public transport, roads and works MEC, says “the INP is about saving lives on the roads”, as well as enhancing community safety. “We are confident that when we implement the new system, our province will begin witnessing a significant reduction in crimes related to vehicles, such as vehicle cloning…”

Jacobs says the system will be integrated with other related national initiatives aimed at ensuring safety and adherence to the law.

His department says the new fake-proof plates with a 2D bar code will not cost much more than the current plates.

Officials are meanwhile interacting with the plate-manufacturing industry regarding the upgrade of production machinery in line with proposed changes and requirements.

The department previously said permutations of the current number plate system are likely to run out by the middle of next year, meaning a new plate system is due.

The initial announcement was met with uproar as Gauteng motorists were expected to replace their current number plates at their own expense.

It has been reported that when the current plates were introduced, government had neglected to put in place any control measures to prevent fraud, safeguard the uniqueness of each number plate set, and guarantee the correct plates were affixed to the correct car.

As a result, thousands of vehicles have false number plates that allow criminals to evade the law and speedsters to defy paying fines.

Johannesburg Metro Police’s director for licensing, prosecutions and courts, Gerrie Gernecke, last year estimated that up to 10 000 vehicles in his city alone had false plates.