Bheki Ntuli, MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, at People's Park where the department launched their Festive Season Safety Plan. Picture: Thabiso Goba

Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport has launched a new driver testing technology aimed at curbing corruption at licencing stations. 

The technology, dubbed e-driver, is essentially an electronic tablet that digitally records all information by the testing examiner and has a tracking route. This is a change from the paper system that was being used at all KZN testing stations. 

E-driver was launched at the Rossburgh Testing Station which has been in the news as the hotbed of corrupt activity in the province. 

Victor Chetty, Director of the Road Traffic Inspectorate KZN, said the department is moving to close down the gap for opportunities of corruption. “(With the tablet) there is no way that the examiner can fidget or amend anything that they mark,” he said. 

The Independent on Saturday previously reported that the KZN department is the only one in the country that makes those taking the test sign an indemnity form saying they did not bribe the testing instructor. It is also the only province that asks those taking the test to reveal the name of their driving school, which experts said opens up possibilities of corruption.

Chetty said that both practises would remain and added that the noting down of driving schools is for the testing station to create a “database".

He conceded that the new technology is not guaranteed was not guaranteed to prevent corruption and said that the department was working on installing cameras along the selected testing routes. 

“At the end of the day we rely on human beings. Firstly as a society we are corrupt. If you are paying an examiner then you are corrupt but as an examiner I must have that dignity and be proud of the work that I do. As government we can do as much as we can but we rely on officers and society as well,” he said. 

Bheki Ntuli, MEC for Transport Community Safety and Liaison said that the e-driver technology would reduce the number of untrained drivers on the road.  “Previously, unqualified drivers will get passed and then we would get a lot of car accidents in our provinces. We hope this technology will stop the selling of driver's licenses,” he said. 

KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest number of road fatalities last year during the festive season with 328 deaths from 267 crashes.

The Independent on Saturday