The Constitutional Court has ordered on Wednesday that SA’s Electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) management be returned to the government from private operator Tasima by the end of the year.
Constitutional Court, which found that a five-year extension won by Tasima to run the system from 2010 was unlawful, ordered on Wednesday that it be handed over to the Road Traffic Management Corporation within 30 days.
The eNatis has long been debated on and has had former transport minister Sbu Ndebele dragged into the matter.
Sbu Ndebele, who was the political head of the department when this happened, is accused of receiving more than R10m in bribes from Tasima and is due to appear in the Commercial Crimes Court in December.
He was recently recalled from his posting as the country’s High Commissioner to Australia.
The electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) is said to help the department regulate and administer the licensing of all vehicles‚ learner drivers and drivers’ licences‚ vehicle roadworthiness tests as well as the general implementation of the road traffic legislation.
“The merits of the challenge are nonetheless compelling. A web of maladministration surrounds the granting of the extension,” said the majority judgment read by Justice Sisi Khampepe who upheld that the extension of the contract was unlawful, but noted that allegations of fraud and corruption were not properly made and were not considered by lower courts.
“No constitutional principle allows for an unlawful administrative decision to ‘morph into valid act’.
“However, for the reasons developed through a long string of this court’s judgments, that declaration must be made by a court,” the judgment read.
At the end of the contract in 2007‚ Tasima was given a month-to-month contract to run the eNatis until a disputed five-year contract extension signed by the then transport department director-general George Mahlalela in May 2010, Business live reported.
Tasima- which is owned by Thuthukani Information Technology Services, which is jointly owned by technology entrepreneurs Fannie Mahlangu and Zuko Vabaza- has however, denied the veracity of the allegations, which were not considered by the Constitutional Court.
The company and the Department of Transport are expected to meet in 10 days to discuss the terms of transfer and should no agreement be reached, the original migration plan established in a 2001 agreement would be implemented.
Nonetheless, the Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters said outside the court that the ruling as a “victory for all South Africans” as personal information of South African motorists would be handed back to the government department.