Categories TECH

ID cards to be scanned when entering Kruger park

Image: iStock

The Kruger National Park is going high-tech with its access control systems at its entrance gates‚ starting in the southern part of the park. From 1 September 2017‚ all visitors over the age of 18 must produce an identity document for scanning in order to gain access to the game reserve.

For non-South African visitors‚ they must produce passports but a South African driver’s licence will also be acceptable‚ the Sanparks said in a statement.

“The new system will assist with monitoring of people’s movement who enter and exit the park‚ and will ensure that information related to any persons entering the park is centrally recorded and monitored.”

Kruger park managing executive Glenn Phillips said the system will apply to everybody including SANParks staff members‚ suppliers and other residents of the park.

“(The new system) is expected to improve on our proactive surveillance‚ early warning and detection. In our quest to continue to enhance security for both wildlife and visitors‚ we will continue to make use of appropriate security technology‚” he added.

Visitors will still be required to go through their normal check-in or check-out at the gate receptions before proceeding to the security scanning process‚ the Kruger park statement said.

“We recognise that we have to keep a very fine balance between imposing potentially anti-tourist friendly security apparatus whilst also ensuring the protection of both tourists and wildlife. We request the public to be patient during these very necessary security processes‚” said Phillips.

Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa told a briefing in parliament last month that 529 rhino have been poached in South Africa since January‚ compared to 542 in the same period for 2016.

The Kruger National Park‚ which has “traditionally borne the brunt of poaching” has recorded a decrease of 34%‚ with 243 incidents recorded in the first half of the year‚ compared with 354 in the same period last year.

Molewa said that there also appeared to be an “emerging threat” as 30 elephants were poached in the Kruger park so far this year‚ compared with 46 elephant poaching incidents recorded for the whole of 2016.

The department says it is taking these incidents seriously and applying the lessons learned in rhino poaching to curb further threats to the South African elephant population.

Molewa said a total of 359 arrests of alleged poachers and traffickers had been made this year‚ 90 of these inside the Kruger National Park and 112 adjacent to the park.

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Categories TECH

Uber’s new payment system lets drivers reject cash trips

A photo illustration shows the Uber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone.

A photo illustration shows the Uber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone.

Uber SA has introduced a new payment system meant to increase driver safety. The cash indicator feature allows operators to choose if they want to service clients on cash trip request or not.

This development is mainly in response to recent criminal incidents affecting Uber drivers. Many have previously complained about the cash trip method because they believe it exposes them to robberies and hijacking.

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The new cash indicator has been activated as a pilot.

It is expected to go live for all Uber operators by the end of this week.

“Unfortunately Uber’s technology cannot prevent crime but we are doing everything we can to prioritise the safety of those using the Uber app‚” said Uber SA’s general manager Jonathan Ayache on a statement issued on Thursday.

According to Uber‚ some drivers want the cash option to be completely removed but there are also those in favour of this method because it increases their profits.

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“Cash is a dominant payment method in Africa and many riders do not have cards to use on the app. Cash removes the barrier for those without a card who want to use Uber that is why it’s not feasible to remove the cash option completely.

“We believe riders should have the freedom to pay for rides how they wish but also that driver-partners should have the freedom to accept cash trips or not‚” Ayache is quoted on the issued statement.

Uber driver-partner Emmanuel Matwa supports the introduction of the cash indicator but urged Uber to improve rider identification features.

Matwa recommends that cash trip riders must be requested to provide identification numbers and images when requesting Uber services.

“Cash trips are very risky because riders can use fake SIM cards or provide incorrect details when requesting transport. Some drivers accept cash trips because they need the money‚ but these trips are dangerous especially at night‚” said Matwa.

Uber said driver-partners who declined cash trips would not be penalised and the new safety feature would not have any negative impact on the dispatch process.

“We are in the business of technology. We have introduced many key safety features that did not exist before the introduction of the Uber in South Africa. We remain committed to using and investing in technological solutions to any issues‚ safety included‚” read the statement.

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