Scopa probes eNatis

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 11 Jun 2007

Parliament's financial watchdog, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), is demanding a Department of Transport response on the government's troubled electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis).

The combative committee posed the questions last month, after the R408 million IT system stumbled because of inadequate database server capacity.

Pan Africanist Congress of Azania MP Themba Godi, Scopa's chairman, says he and his colleagues want to know if eNatis "is going to deliver or are we going to have problems in perpetuity?"

Risk assessment

"Our concern was when the system was procured, and implemented, whether all the risks were properly analysed, was there sufficient capacity to install this thing? Those were the issues that were of concern to us," Godi said this morning.

He says Scopa wants to establish if there was due diligence and proper risk assessment in the development and implementation of the system. "That is the nub of the question."

Scopa is constitutionally mandated to monitor government spending. All government departments and state institutions are required to account to it. It has the power to declare government spending fruitless or wasteful, and to recommend corrective action to the National Assembly.

The Sunday Times reports Scopa's questions show the eNatis tender was allocated to the most expensive bidder. The tender was awarded in 2001 to the arivia.kom-led Tasima Consortium at an initial value of R354 731 000. It has since ballooned to at least R408 million.

The paper says nine companies offered to design and deploy eNatis at a price below that bid by the state-owned IT company. Another two offered their services at less than R408 million.

Radebe meets AG

Meanwhile, transport minister Jeff Radebe is still scheduled to meet the auditor general, the state's chief auditor, to discuss a damning report on security and other glitches in eNatis.

Radebe's office has said the report is based on information about a year old and the main concerns have subsequently been addressed. The report said there was an 80% chance eNatis would fail if implemented. Radebe last month told Parliament that eNatis is now working optimally.


A Tasima source says BEE consulting firm NRG Consulting has completed its work on eNatis. NRG proposed a number of interventions, helped Tasima engineers reach certain answers quicker than would have been the case otherwise and helped Tasima achieve a series of "quick wins" of the sort Radebe boasted.

The source denied Business Connexion (BCX) had been called in to help. BCX was the old Natis vendor and in April solely assisted with migrating the database off its system.

"They were never involved in developing eNatis, or asked for their assistance in optimising it," the source says.

Related stories:
Radebe to meet AG on eNatis
DA wants another go at eNatis
Tasima, eNatis contract extended
Security fears hit eNatis
DA slams Radebe's eNatis 'spin'