No word on smart plates

The Transvaal provincial authorities have not begun with the implementation of the intelligent number plate system.

Spokesman for the Transvaal Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works Louise Ngo confirms that implementation of the project has not begun.

Announced in 2007 by the committee for public transport the full implementation of the number plates project was scheduled for January 2009, but it has since been subject to several delays.

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 makers will also have to be accredited and plates srewed onto vehicles with tamper-proof bolts, to prevent theft.

The fraud-proof plates also form part of the province's R75 million integrated safety and security system. The department hoped the system would curb cases of "vehicle cloning", where standard number plates are fraudulently duplicated and registered, or where fraudulent vehicle registration documents are issued.

The MEC announced the number plate system in his 2006/7 budget speech, saying the system would "increase efficiency and effectiveness in all areas of operation" and "enhance the integrity of vehicle registration compliance and effective law enforcement".

He also stated government was using technology to provide "an accurate and secure method of vehicle identification and verification to sanitise the current vehicle registration information system".

Ngo also announced the testing of the audit trail of the new number plates a process which would involve manufacturers and embossers will be conducted as a six-month pilot project, starting in August 2007. "Full-scale implementation is scheduled for the 1st of January 2008," he stated.

Ngo also warned motorists that there would be additional costs saying they would have to pay for a new set of number plates when the new system was introduced, along with a bar code and security feature called the Number Validation Label.

The department also stated it would phase out the current number plate system "over a period of time".

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