Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) is installing closed circuit television (CCTV) system at its service centres to curb fraud and under-hand deals.
Besides, the cameras will also be used to monitor whether all DRTSS employees report for duty, knock-off as per official times and how they handle customers.
Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila confirmed in an interview in Lilongwe on Wednesday that the K41 million investment in 90 CCTV cameras from South Africa is proof that government is stepping up its war against corruption and fulfilling its commitment to improve the directorate’s service delivery.
He said: “The idea is to closely monitor the service provision at the directorate. When an officer will be seen violating the procedures, administrative penalties will be imposed depending on the gravity [of the offence], but also following government procedures.
“We will continue improving, until that time when Malawians will be satisfied with the service delivery.”
The minister hailed consultants, Darling Solutions, who are installing the cameras, and the other consultants who had been engaged before for working hard in continuing to upgrade the Malawi Traffic Information System (Maltis) at the directorate.
He said Maltis has transformed how the directorate operates and the system is now more dependent on electronic systems in its services, which include the provision, and renewal, of driving licences and certifying roadworthiness of vehicles.
When Maltis was introduced about a year ago, the transition from the largely manual old system was fraught with challenges, as many directorate officers confessed to not having been fully trained on the new system.
The system change-over caused delays and long queues at the directorate offices across the country, where frustrated officers and customers exchanged harsh words, often characterised by some pushing and shoving scenes.
However, in recent months, the system has settled—at least the long queues and inexperienced system officers no longer being irritation points for the public.
DRTSS director Jacques Manong’a welcomed the CCTV cameras, whose installation will be completed by January 14, as a welcome development that will help monitor errant officers who have given the directorate a bad name in the past.
He said there will eventually be little hiding places for the corrupt and inefficient officers, as the cameras will even be in odd places such as corridors.
Said Manong’a: “The installation of the cameras targets critical areas, especially the documents room, the transactions room, the entity registration room and the examinations room [where eye and aptitude tests are done]. This exercise will be done across all our regional offices. Further to this, we will extend the cameras to our weighbridges.”
DRTSS has five weighbridges, drive-on roadside entities for cross-checking cargo weight. These bridges are located at Songwe in Karonga, Mchinji, Balaka, Mwanza and Muloza in Mulanje.
In early December, DRTSS bought modern ‘speed trap’ cameras and other equipment for regulating vehicular speed on Malawi’s roads. Over-speeding has caused Malawi to have one of the highest accident rates in southern Africa.