The Gauteng Department of Transport has highlighted the importance of IT systems, saying  they will improve efficiency and controls in the department. Following statements by Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane, calling for a focus on stricter accountability measures to address financial mismanagement in the province, the department says IT systems are central to any improvements. Finance MEC Bheki Nkosi previously stated the department would focus on delivering several other crucial projects, but added that transport systems would only be improved through IT projects.

In September, the department introduced a strategy and began to look at a way of ensuring an enhanced intelligent transport system. The provincial government also recently finalised a strategy detailing the approach it would take to tolling, but details of the approach will only be released next year. The provincial government says it will accelerate the implementation of its R32 million intelligent number plate project, upgrading and integration of IT systems, and improvements to its Integrated Transport System (ITS). “Achieving transport systems, which are integrated appropriately and function optimally, is our focus now,” the department says.

Smart plates

Nkosi previously stated that preparations for the roll-out of new plates will begin in December, despite stating the current number plates are set to run out at the end of this year. While previously stating the roll-out would begin in January, the department now says the manufacturing process will only begin in February 2010. The project is scheduled to run for four years, and is intended to be completed by November 2013.

The electronic number plate system will place a number validation label on the rear window of vehicles, along with a bar code that traffic authorities will be able to scan. Number plate manufacturers will also have to be accredited and plates bolted onto vehicles with tamper-proof screws to prevent fraud.

The department says integration with the Gauteng proprietary portion of eNatis, GauTis, to provide notification of any offences, is critical. The focus would be on increasing the capacity of both systems, securing motorists’ information and ensuring both systems function optimally.

Reprioritising

While the department previously stated projects under the ITS are key to cutting costs, several of its IT projects have been delayed due to a shortage of funds and skills, as well as other challenges. The ITS involves the integration and supply of information through ICT. The intelligent number plate system forms part of the ITS and has not made any significant progress since it was announced in 2007.

The system is divided into several projects, including an integrated safety and security system, ATM surveillance, interoperable/integrated fair management, intelligent number plates, integrated revenue management system and document management system. Most of these projects have been delayed. The department says several projects would be reprioritised and would receive funding accordingly.