eNatis to be handed over

By Christelle du Toit, ITWeb senior journalist
Johannesburg, 07 Aug 2007

The Department of Transport wants to hand over the controversial electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) to a new contractor by no later than May 2008, with no guarantee in place that developer Tasima will retain the contract.

According to Werner Koekemoer, eNatis project leader, the department wants to entrust the day-to-day running of the eNatis system "as soon as possible" to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), who will also be outsourcing it.

"We are busy negotiating with the RTMC to hand it over, but the RTMC in itself is not a contractor - it will merely be responsible for operational issues," says Koekemoer. "However, IT systems are not at the core of its business and the trend in the past has been to outsource this, which it will continue to do."

The oversight function of eNatis will remain in the department's hands, even when it has handed over the project to the RTMC.

No guarantees

Tasima, the company managing eNatis so far, has had to keep running the project even after its contract lapsed in May this year. This is after the department invoked a "handover" or transfer management clause where, for a period of up to 12 months, the company is still responsible for the initiative.

Koekemoer says this period is not adding to the department's eNatis bill, as it was contractually agreed to at the start of the process. "Once this transfer management period is over, the project would have to have been awarded by tender to someone and there is certainly no guarantee that this will be Tasima again."

Koekemoer adds that, while the tender for the new eNatis contractor has not yet been published, the department is in the "advanced stages" of stakeholder consultation on the tender.

"The nine provinces are our main stakeholders as they are the ones who, constitutionally, are responsible for motor vehicle registrations, for example," says Koekemoer. He explains that the provinces have already pointed out very specific tender specifications to be included, such as that the system should be run at a provincial level through SMEs, rather than from a national level.

If accepted as a tender criterion, this will mean "the subcontractor will have to have a presence in the provinces and have suppliers that comply with the SME criteria", says Koekemoer.

In the meantime, Koekemoer says, eNatis is running smoothly; there have been no "incidents" in the past two months.

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