THE Government is in the process of digitalising the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID), a process which will see aspiring drivers writing provisional driver’s licences tests online and reducing interface with officials to minimise cases of alleged corruption.
Senior principal director in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Ambassador Mary Sibusisiwe Mubi, said this was part of the e-governance drive meant to bring convenience to members of the public.
She, however, could not say when the technology would be implemented but said its introduction will help reduce alleged corruption at the VID.
The technology was on show at the VID stand which exhibited under the Office of the President and Cabinet during the just ended 57th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).
Under the envisaged system, learners will first be subjected to an eye test three times, failure of which the person will not be able to write the examinations. The eye test will be at levels; close, medium and far.
Those who would have passed the eye test, will proceed to register for the exam online by providing their details which include name, physical address and national identity number before the eight-minute examination starts.
The examinations will be centrally and electronically administered at the VID head office in Harare, stripping VID officials at various branches around the country, where the tests are being written now, of any influence on the outcome of the tests.
With the new technology, each candidate will write a different set of questions from the next candidate during the same session and in the same exam room.
“Through the e-government processes we will have, in the long run, a situation where people will be having their provisional licenses tests online and get licenses much easier. You also reduce corruption because the more electronic systems we have, the less interface you have and the less likelihood of people asking for bribes and certain fees,” Amb Mubi said.
She added that Zimbabwe had the Information and Communication Technology infrastructure which should be fully exploited to aid the ease of doing business in the country.
“As part of the innovation, this is a push towards the use of ICT. We now have the infrastructure in Zimbabwe and we need to use it in Government processes to ensure that the private sector and the entrepreneurs are facilitated to do things in a faster way,” she said.
The digitalisation of the VID will follow successful digitalisation of the Registrar General’s office where passport forms can now be downloaded online and taken to the passport office after filling.
This comes against reports of an alarming number of people failing leaner’s driving licence tests, amid claims that officials at the VID deliberately fail people to induce bribes.
Figures obtained from VID show that about 60 percent of people who sit for learner’s licence tests fail, while over 70 percent fail road tests to get driver’s licences. The VID has, however, been on record denying claims of corruption at the institution arguing that the high failure rate was a result of people coming for the tests ill prepared.
A Harare-based organisation, Road Rules, also claims a 75 percent failure rate in learner’s licence tests.
In 2010, Government cancelled 199 driver’s licences issued by the Chiredzi VID depot between January and June 2009 as part of measures to stamp out corruption.