The Road Transport and Safety Services (RTSS), the formerly Road Traffic Directorate (RTD) has invested about K15 million to acquire new 30 000 images, enabling them to resume taking pictures for clients seeking new driving licences or renewing old ones.
RTSS director James Chirwa said they are now able to take new pictures for those who have just passed their driving test and individuals whose images could not be retrieved in the system.
For the past two months, the RTSS had stopped issuing new driving licences, following the exhaustion of 30 000 images that were in the software government procured from Belgium between 2009 and 2010 to help in the production of licences.
“We are currently using the Automated Figure Identification System (Afis) to remove any elements of cheating. However there is software which we procured specifically to produce images on the licence.
“This software from Belgium had 30 000 images and all of them had been used up. We had successful discussions with the supplier and, since last week, we are now able to take pictures of those who are looking for driving licences,” he said.
Chirwa said the newly-procured 30 000 images, will last for a year but they decided against acquiring more because of changing technology.
“We cannot just buy a lot of pictures to last for five years or more because technology is very dynamic. Since we are working on renewing and revamping our system, there was a need that we acquire images that could last just for a year,” he said.
Chirwa said most of their clients were affected when they stopped capturing images.
“Those who wanted to renew licences we were just attaching their old licences together with some documents but many people were complaining because a licence is used in many transactions including the banks,” he said.
On the efforts by government to do away with middlemen from the directorate offices, Chirwa said the process is going according to plan but hinted that it is not a one day’s job.
A client found at offices has commended RTSS for acquiring the new images, saying they were being harassed on the roads by traffic police officers and were also failing to make important business transactions in the absence of a valid driving licence.