No IT crisis at eNatis

Audra Mahlong
By Audra Mahlong, senior journalist
Johannesburg, 01 Mar 2010

Following reports in several newspapers yesterday that eNatis had lost some of its most skilled software engineers, Tasima, which operates the system, says it is still operating at full strength.

Reports in the City Press and Rapport noted that Face Technologies, a contractor for the eNatis system, vacated after arivia.kom sold its interest in the project.

Reports noted that, since the end of February, Tasima had lost 36 of its 44 skilled IT workers and this would have a crippling effect on IT operations and delay the rollout of the demerit point system for motorists.

Philip van der Merwe, divisional manager of corporate communications at Tasima, says changes were expected following government's sale of arivia.kom to T-Systems, and the project had made preparations.

Arivia's shareholding in Tasima was put up for sale, and in terms of the company's shareholders' agreement, remaining partners in the Tasima consortium, Webcom and Thuthukani, exercised their right to purchase arivia's shareholding.

Van der Merwe says Tasima made permanent employment offers to all staff in the company and the majority accepted. Face Technologies, on its departure, targeted the software division and offered staff employment on non-eNatis projects, he says.

Of the 62 staff members in that division, 42 accepted Face Technologies' offer.

“Those staff members who did not take up employment with Tasima represent only a relatively small group of one division. It is important to note that software is but one division within Tasima. The other divisions, all of which remain at full strength, are equally important in terms of maintaining and expanding the system,” says Van der Merwe.

He adds that Tasima attempted to retain as many Face software contractors as were willing to remain on the project. Webcom and Thuthukani approached a court in December for urgent relief, resulting in a settlement agreement where it was agreed that no interference of Webcom, Thuthukani and Tasima recruitment efforts would be entered into.

Transition programmes

Van der Merwe adds that the possibility of skills losses was addressed and Tasima embarked on a three-month transition programme at the beginning of December 2009. The initiative was managed by a specialist transition manger, who through a number of take-on teams, ensured skills transfer from staff leaving the project.

“New appointments have been made in key positions in the software division, and the new appointees have extensive experience in the eNatis environment,” says Van der Merwe.

The Department of Transport has been informed of the status of transition at Tasima. As part of the transition programme, existing processes were evaluated and the application of new methodology, architecture and procedures in the eNatis project is also expected to benefit the system.

“System development is continuing in terms of priorities set by the Department of Transport. There will be no effect on system stability, since our operational division remains at full strength,” says Van der Merwe.