Cape Town - The home affairs department settled out of court
with IT company Gijima AST [JSE:GIJ] for a loss of R389m over the cancellation of its
controversial contract, director general Mkuseli Apleni said on Wednesday.
The department thus avoided a greater loss of R2.1bn had the
contract run its course, he told parliament's home affairs portfolio committee.
"The settlement represents a potential R2bn savings to
government as against R4.5bn estimated cost to complete the project,"
The sum refers to money already paid up to March 2010 to
Gijima and sub-contractors HP and IBM for lease payments.
The contract with Gijima was signed in December 2007, but
proved fraught from the start. The company failed to deliver an integrated
electronic database for the department to improve security and speed up
previously manual application processes.
The initial tender was awarded for R1.9bn two months
earlier. Costs for the so-called Who Am I Online project however
spiralled to R4.535bn over five years, after items like software licences were
included in the deal.
National Treasury had only approved a business case for a
contract of R2.234bn.
When the company failed to have key components of the
project ready in time for 2010 Fifa World Cup, the department approached the
South African Revenue Service to develop a new movement control system.
It also informed Gijima the contract was considered invalid,
but the company disputed this. Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
then opted for negotiations to avoid a legal battle and further delays.