News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
24 Mar 2017
12:38 pm

eNatis vehicle system on brink of collapse

Ilse de Lange

Telkom claims its bills haven't beed paid and it's about to cut off the data lines to transport authorities.

Community Safety and Transport Management MEC Dr Mokgantshang “Mpho” Motlhabane (L),former Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, Ntate Kompela and Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga reacts to a Constitutional Court order, 9 November 2016, handing the eNaTIS system back to the department under the Road Traffic Management Corporation from private company Tasima following years of court battles. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The country’s national administration traffic information system (eNatis) is on the brink of collapse after Telkom started cutting voice lines to the system this week and said it would start cutting the data lines on Monday.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has pointed the finger at Tasima as being the cause of the system’s imminent collapse but Tasima says the RTMC and transport department deliberately refused to pay Telkom to force them to immediately hand over the system.

RTMC on Friday approached the High Court in Pretoria for an urgent court order to force Tasima to immediately hand over the eNatis system and vacate the premises from which the system is operated.

RTMC will also seek an order to hold Tasima and its directors in contempt of a November 2016 Constitutional court ruling that the extension of the contract in terms of which Tasima has operated the eNatis system since 2010 was invalid and order Tasima to hand over the services and the system to RTMC within 30 days.

Tasima in turn applied for an urgent order to force the transport department and RTMC to pay Telkom for its services pending further litigation about the interpretation of the Constitutional Court order.

RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said the Constitutional Court order was quite clear and Tasima should already have handed over the system long ago, but failed to do so “because they’re trying to make money”.

He said Tasima claimed it needed about 11 months to hand over the system because it was so complicated, but RTMC had been ready since 2015 to take over the system and were also prepared to take over the contractors currently working on the system.

He said RTMC would only be able to pay Telkom once Tasima had handed over the system as RTMC did not have a contract with Telkom and such payments would be irregular.

He added that there were 12 million vehicles on the system and more than 11 million registered drivers who would be affected if the system collapsed, which has already happened at 100 sites.

If the data lines were cut as well, it would mean drivers would not be able to renew licences, cars would not be registered in the names of new owners, fines could not be paid and the police would not be able to check if vehicles had been reported stolen.

Tasima, however, contended RTMC and the transport department were deliberately sabotaging the eNatis system and not paying Telkom to gain an advantage in their ongoing legal battles with Tasima.

The urgent applications were postponed to Thursday next week.