The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has expressed hope that it will take over the Malawi Traffic Information System (Maltis) from Movesa and Fischer Consulting, which the consultant has clang to for five years now.
Maltis is a system used by the directorate in, among other things, processing drivers’ licence cards, certificate of fitness and vehicle registration but, currently, the consultant is controlling it remotely from South Africa while the savers are in Malawi
The government contracted the consultant to develop the system in 2014 and it was supposed to be handed over to the government by 2017, but that never happened.
DRTSS Director Andrew Sandula said the country is making a number of efforts to take over the system and has had several engagements with Fischer and Movesa Consulting.
He said there is progress but is not impressed with the pace.
In April this year, the directorate and the consultant agreed to train some officers from the directorate in operating the system.
“At least our officers have gained some skills from the trainings which the consultant is conducting. However, what our officers are getting from the training is not as much as we expected…
“…our observation as government is that the process is slower than expected but we are in the process of getting the system back,” he said after appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Transport in the ending week.
During the meeting, one of the committee members, William Susuwele Banda, raised concern over the safety of the system since it was being controlled remotely by the supplier, describing the situation as a crisis.
The committee’s chairperson Uchizi Mkandawire said the committee was as concerned as Susuwele Banda because the situation raises safety questions.
“They may decide to shut down the system anytime they want because they have all the rights, all the control of the savers and everything. We, as a committee, are, indeed, worried.
“The way things are, we, as government, don’t own the system because it is still being controlled by the consultant,” Mkandawire said.
It is on record that the Attorney General has been engaging the consultant on a number of issues linked to the contract, including on the issue of the supply of motor vehicle number plates.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.