With all the recent hullabaloo about the ZINARA (Zimbabwe National Roads Authority) deadline for motorists to upgrade to the new license disc system we decided to have a look at what the fuss was all about (the initial deadline was for 31 May and then extended to 30 June 2012). The new ZINARA license discs feature a Quick Response Code (QR Code) and have been available since the beginning of May 2012.
According to Mr. G Chamwaura a Transport Officer at ZINARA the QR code feature has been introduced as a security measure because nefarious characters where duplicating the current discs. Indeed a whole cottage industry has mushroomed on the streets of Harare and other urban centres in Zimbabwe where counterfeit license discs can be obtained.
Chimwaura was insistent that even the most cunning of counterfeiters could not pull off a convincing hoax as each QR Code was uniquely generated and contained within it a host of information about each vehicle including: the teller who processed the license, place of registration, vehicle chassis number, license plates etc. the system is expected to streamline the storage of vehicle records as ZINARA officials will no longer need to go to the Central Vehicle Registry to access vehicle registration documentation.
At the moment the system has yet to be rolled out nationwide and is still largely in Harare. During this first phase most of the work centres around data capture and evaluating the process around applications for vehicle licensing.
Another reason ZINARA is introducing the system is to verify the number of vehicles in the country. ZINARA estimates that the country currently has 800,000 vehicles but this is not verifiable. The new system will allow them to have a more accurate picture.
The introduction of the system is of no additional cost to the motorist and Chamwaura indicated that his organisation has now increased the term options that are available and they are 4,6,8,10 and 12 months.
The key question relates to whether there are sufficient scanners on the roads to ensure that the system works as intended. Currently this is not the case, however ZINARA says they are bringing in sufficient quantities of scanners and these will be available to the police and at all toll gates. The lack of scanners on the ground however is a flaw in the implementation as this provides a loophole in terms of compliance. Enforcement is mainly being done by the police and without scanners it’s impossible, at least for the time being to know whether a QR coded disc is genuine or not. A motorist may present a disc that has a copy of the QR code and ‘benefit’ from the cops’ inability to verify it’s authenticity.
According to the Herald reports ZINARA’s Motorists will not be charged any late any administrative penalty for late licensing before June 30, but those who fail to license their vehicles b y then will pay an all inclusive penalty of $45 in addition to US$20 charged for acquiring the new disc.