Drivers Licence Call Centre shut downMoneyWeb 5 October 2010
The manual method for booking is reinstated in Gauteng as the GSSC closes its
problematic contact centre.
The Gauteng Department of Transport (DOT) has shut down its call centre for
electronic driver and learner licence test booking indefinitely.
Spokesperson Philemon Motshwaedi confirms there were a lot of challenges with the
contact centre and says technical glitches also added to the problems.
He adds that the main reason for shutting down the call centre is because the
provincial department cancelled its contract with the service provider, Sibize Calling International.
Motshwaedi says this change is only for Gauteng, and other provincial systems will
continue as normal.
In August, the Eastern Cape fully deployed the drivers' licence electronic booking
system and was the last province to roll out the solution.
Motshwaedi explains that the call centre had to be shut down because the
department is in the process of migrating functionalities from the company to the department and the Gauteng Shared
Services Centre (GSSC), which runs and manages the system.
The migration process was interfering with the efficiency of the system and
causing frustrations, which is why the decision was taken to revert to manual operations in the meantime, according
He adds that the contract with Sibize was cancelled because the department feels
it is now within its ability to manage operations of the call centre on its own. "The call centre approach was
reached in a short phase so that we can now do it on our own in our internal capacity.
Motshwaedi also says this saves the cost of paying for a service that the
government can now deliver on its own.
He says the department cannot, as yet, provide a time frame for when the contact
centre will be running again. "We need to continue with internal assessment based on our internal objectives and a
lot of testing is going to be done. After the migration and the testing then we will have an idea of when the call
centre will be back."
The GSSC has come under fire several times in the past due to the province's
backlog in dealing with drivers' and learners' licence bookings.
The GSSC had previously increased the number of productive seats in the contact
centre, which deals with this issue, and further outsourced the management of it. It had also denied that the
backlog was due to the contact centre's inability.
Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane, who previously criticised the centre following
its R1.7 billion payment backlog, called it an embarrassment.
The agency has come under fire for several key projects since the provincial
government took the decision to migrate all technology-related projects to the GSSC in an effort to standardise the
processes and platforms.
The Gauteng Online Web portal, which is run and managed by the GSSC, has had
constant technical issues and downtime.
The site forms part of the centre's drive to implement e-government services.
Along with its contact centre, the Web portal is supposed to improve access to services and information in the
The GSSC has also struggled with the online schools initiative it inherited from
the Gauteng Department of Education. Following several delays, the initiative to build province-wide 25-seat
computer labs with Internet and e-mail capabilities was scheduled to connect 2 042 schools by May, but this did not
The GSSC was re-incorporated into the Gauteng finance department following
financial concerns. It was placed under supervision, primarily because of its long list of financial troubles,
including a payment backlog of R1.7 billion, which it owed to hundreds of suppliers to public hospitals and
Last year, Mokonyane lambasted the embattled GSSC, saying she would no longer
tolerate any mismanagement from the department. She said it was unacceptable that the GSSC continued to blame its
systems for its many troubles.
In the hopes of clearing out the rabble at the department, the premier instigated
an investigation into the functioning of the GSSC. The report was speculated to spell death for the
The GSSC was established as the 12th department of the Gauteng Provincial
Government in November 2001. Its core business is to provide a provincial government-wide internal support service
in terms of audit services, human resource services, procurement services, finance services and technology support
At a cursory level, the system, run on eNatis, essentially handles the
registration of cars and booking of learners' and drivers' tests at various licensing and testing stations across
Officials say the service is in the process of being extended and could in future
handle other transport-related services, like online fine payment and the ability to renew drivers' licences
The project was prompted by the increasing need to come up with an efficient,
secure and customer convenience system.
In addition to streamlining the booking process, the new booking system validates
examiners, testing centres and appointments, and prevents unscrupulous officials from abusing the system by
extorting money from the public in order to obtain driving licence appointments.
Despite complaints that the system was ineffective and dysfunctional, the
transport department maintains the centralisation of the learner booking system is working very well and continues
to eliminate the illegal sale of booking slots by corrupt officials.
The system has been deployed at more than 2 000 sites across the country and
handles roughly 16 million queries a month.
This article was published on Moneyweb on 5 October