The country’s national electronic traffic information system (eNatis) has been saved from imminent collapse by a partial payment to Telkom, but the developers warned that there would be “chaos” if they were forced to hand over the system immediately.
The Road Traffic Managmement (RTMC) and Transport Department has asked the High Court in Pretoria to order eNatis developers Tasima to immediately hand over the system and to vacate the premises from which the system is operated, which is regarded as a national key point.
Counsel for RTMC Etienne Labuschagne SC argued that Tasima was ignoring a clear Constitutional Court order, granted on November 9 last year, giving it 30 days to hand over the system.
“I think the horse [Tasima] was directed to bolt, and it refuses to do so,” he said.
RTMC earlier this week maintained the system was on the brink of collapse because Telkom has started to cut the voice and data lines to the system because of nonpayment, but Tasima said it was a ruse to create urgency.
Counsel for Tasima Alaister Franklin told the court Tasima has since made partial payment to Telkom, which has staved off the threat of the communication lines being cut.
Labuschagne said an impasse had been reached between RTCM and Tasima, which was why the court was asked to give effect to the court order.
Tasima maintained the order should be interpreted to mean that the handover period must start within 30 days and should take place in terms of an orderly, open-ended schedule, but Labuschagne said the Constitutional Court had already turned down Tasima’s application for it to interpret their order.
He said RTCM wanted the staff to remain, but the shareholders of Tasima to walk out.
RTCM accused Tasima of just trying to make money and insisting on payment of R100 million, but Tasima said it had offered to defer payment of profit for later litigation and only wanted RTCM to pay for staff and third parties during the hand-over period.
Franklin argued Tasima needed at least eight weeks to hand over the system, although the original contract made provision for a five-year handover period. He said the Constitutional Court had only ruled that the extension of the contract was invalid.
Judge Tuchten will deliver his ruling on Monday.