ConCourt ruling removes hurdle to eNatis system national roll out

NOVEMBER 9, 2016

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Transport on Wednesday welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling on the Electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) system matter involving the Department of Transport and the developers of the system, Tasima.

The Committee Chairperson, Dikeledi Magadzi, said now the Department could move to the next phase, which is the national roll out of the system.

“For too long, litigation after litigation held back the Department’s plans, thereby negatively impacting on the delivery of services to the people. The Committee is happy with the ruling, as the matter has proved to be a challenge for a number of years,” Magadzi said.

“The understanding has always been that once the system was working it would be transferred to the Department as its rightful owners.”

The Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that Tasima must hand over the services and eNatis to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) within 30 days.

It also ruled that, unless an alternative transfer management plan is agreed to by the parties within 10 days of this order, the hand-over must to be conducted in terms of the migration plan.

Magadzi said this was victory not only for the people of South Africa and the government, but also for service delivery.

“The Constitutional Court has confirmed that the days of the government being unscrupulously held to ransom by private companies, which have been contracted to provide a service to it, are over. The parties must move to finalise all outstanding matters so that the system is implemented,” she said.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters also welcomed the judgment that Tasima hand over control of the eNatis system to RTMC within 30 days.

“Throughout the long, painstaking legal process and impediments thrown our way, we remained resilient and undeterred.

“We were resolute in our commitment to leave no stone unturned in the fight to reclaim the system, ever informed by our patriotism and unparalleled love to serve our country. Indeed ours is to ensure that we better the lives of our citizens and unflinchingly provide the best service they deserve,” said Minister Peters.

Minister Peters said the landmark judgment has drastically changed the legal landscape and confirmed that South Africa is a Constitutional State and that justice will always prevail.

In 2007, the department informed Tasima that it should hand over eNatis back to the department after the five-year contract that was agreed upon expired.

The handover never took place and Tasima continued to provide services on a month-to-month basis until 2010 when the contract was surreptitiously, irregularly and illegally extended for a further five-year period ending 31 April 2015.

The matter between the Department of Transport and Tasima was first heard by the North Gauteng High Court, which ruled in favour of the department and the RTMC in June 2015.

Tasima then took the matter on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein and the court ruled in its favour in December last year.

Government appealed to the Constitutional Court, as the final court of arbiter to bring closure on the matter. The appeal court ordered RTMC to desist from transferring eNatis and its services without the “transfer management plan” envisaged in the initial agreement signed in 2001.

Tasima is the company originally contracted to manage the Electronic National Administration Traffic Information System (eNatis), which processes transactions such as vehicle licensing and driver’s licences and stores the data.

This contract was awarded in 2001 when the Department of Transport appointed Tasima as a service provider for the development, management and transfer of the eNatis system for a contract period of five years.

The Department of Transport has previously advised the public to ensure that the system has their correct details.