CAPE TOWN: The South African government, in cooperation with the private sector, plans to set up a 24-hour operations center to deal with any problems arising from Y2K transition. Staffed by representatives of the health, utilities, and transportation sectors, and other vital service providers, it will disseminate information and help local authorities and companies with Y2K problems. The operations center falls under the auspices of the Department of Provincial Affairs and Local Government, and is the brainchild of the two sub-Cabinet committees set up to deal with all aspects of the Y2K transition -- the National Y2K Task Team and the Interim Disaster Management Committee. According to Peggy Drotske, the South African Chamber of Business representative on both Committees, the center will be in operation from mid-December through mid-January 2000, but could be in existence longer if required. It is likely to be ready to start running by the end of September, she says. "All of the main players who provide services such as electricity, water, transportation, communications, health, and any other important services will be taking calls from individuals, companies, local or provincial governments, or even national government departments to trouble-shoot potential Y2K problems," Drotske says. "They will also disseminate information on Y2K matters to the public." On the status of Y2K preparations in South Africa, Drotske says that assessments and rectification of local government systems is going a bit slowly, but likely will be completed on time.