(Nambia) Not Y2K OK at Home Affairs

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Not 'Y2K OK' at Home Affairs The Namibian (Windhoek) January 7, 2000 By Tangeni Amupadhi

Windhoek - 'Y2K Ok' goes the Government slogan on the computer millennium bug. Unfortunately it was not OK for the Ministry of Home Affairs whose population register system was unable to cope with the Year 2000 rollover.

Authoritative sources said this week some computers used in the issuing of identification cards (IDs) had been showing wrong dates since the Y2K changeover, indicating the year as 1980.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has been forced to shut down the Identification Card Production System while efforts are being made to upgrade the computer system.

"It is not a Y2K failure," Dave Hill, head of Government's Year 2000 Project said yesterday. "It is a Y2K contingency action," he said in reference to the shutting down of the system.

The shutdown, which was effected last week, means the Ministry is unable to process new ID cards until the problem has been solved - hopefully by the end of this month.

"The system has been suspended because it was not Y2K compliant," Hill said. "It was suspended so that we could not lose data due to the Y2K bug."

When The Namibian first inquired this week, Home Affairs spokesman Mikka Asino denied the ID division had experienced any Y2K problem. Asked about the population register's shut down, Asino said: "This problem has nothing to do with Y2K."

Asino said the Ministry was merely "upgrading the systems" which "are no longer compatible".

"I do not know who fed you with information, but it is not accurate information," Asino said.

Asked to provide accurate information, Asino said he found it inappropriate to comment because the reporter was not forthcoming on who this newspaper's sources were.

Sources close to the ID division said when employees arrived at work this week they were unable to ascertain whether the data was still stored.

"The population register is blank," said one source.

However, a statement from the Y2K information centre said yesterday: "It must be emphasised that while the system has been suspended due to Y2K, no Y2K induced errors or loss of data has occurred as preventative action was initiated in good time."

Sources said the problem was caused by management at Home Affairs who delayed agreeing a contract for the upgrading of the ID system.

"The supplier of the specialised computer hardware and software, G&D of Munich Germany, would not proceed with the supply and installation of the [Y2K] equipment as per order until their purchase contract has been signed and approved," the Y2K information centre, of which Hill is the head, said in the statement.

On the wrong computer dates, Hill said the fact that some computers showed it was 1980 "might be a mild Y2K issue". Concerning some of the computers which indicated that Tuesday was December 5, Hill said the computer dates may have been wrongly set.

Hill pointed out that the computers which were non-compliant "were merely the odd PC" found in non-critical areas, adding that Government's system were largely Y2K compliant.


-- LSRY2K (admin@lsry2k.net), January 08, 2000


This is emblematic and so typical of the smoke and mirrors show invading the minds of the public. Simply reclassify the problem to make it vanish. It wasn't Y2K related because we pulled the plug? Huh? So then you can just plug it back in, right? Nope. Don't work 'cuz it aint Y2K compliant. So it IS a Y2K problem? Nope, we just didn't fix it. Fix what? The Y2K bug, silly. That is why we pulled the plug. So it IS a Y2K problem. Nope. Just a repair problem which we will fix and then plug it back in next month. Huh?

-- Ron Sellar (y2kbook@telusplanet.net), January 08, 2000.

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