Court orders department to pay up in eNaTIS case | Fin24
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Court orders department to pay up in eNaTIS case

Sep 22 2016 18:30
Carin Smith

Cape Town - The Department of Transport (DoT) must urgently pay about R5.3m to technology firm Tasima, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled on Thursday.

Tasima is a consortium which was awarded a R403m contract in 2001 for licensing administration of the national vehicle register eNaTIS (National Traffic Information System), which it developed, maintained and operated. It has since been involved in various court battles with the DoT and other parties, including the minister of transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation, for what it claims to be unpaid fees of more than R100m.  

Tasima's latest urgent application was brought in order to compel the eleven respondents, among other things, to honour their payment obligations as ordered in various court judgments over the years. Tasima wanted the court to declare that the respondents were in contempt of these court orders and asked for appropriate punitive measures to be imposed. The respondents, in turn, have tried to get the court orders discharged.

In April 2016 a judge granted a court order which found the respondents in contempt of various court orders. He ordered the payment of R176m to Tasima as contractor. The parties then reached an interim agreement pending the final determination of an appeal which was heard in the Constitutional Court in May this year and is still pending.

Part of the long-running saga is that the DoT claims that the extension Tasima's contract to run the national vehicle register did not follow the proper procurement requirement. The DoT, therefore, disputes Tasima’s right to continue operating the eNaTIS system. It wants the Constitutional Court to declare that the extension of the contract was invalid.

In May this year the DoT was ordered to pay R104.2m of which 10% to 15% was for a management fee. By the end of May this year, when the DoT had not made any payment, Tasima launched an urgent application for contempt of court and this application was granted.

A second breach, according to Tasima was that the respondents refused to approve dozens of purchase requisition orders and the third alleged breach that they have unlawfully refused to make payment to Tasima of the full amounts owing. The judge has now ordered that these purchase requisition orders be approved within three days.

The DoT and the DG, on the other hand, claim not to have been wilfully in contempt of court.

In August 2012 already the DoT was ordered by the court to pay Tasima for all the services rendered or to be rendered and obligations incurred or to be incurred by Tasima in connection with the eNaTIS system and to comply with certain specific payment obligations, pending the finalisation of the main application.

In March 2013 a judge interdicted the respondents from rerouting or diverting any of the services, which the applicant undertook to perform under the agreement, away from the applicants. In January 2014 a judge held certain of the respondents in contempt.

In the current application, the respondents conceded that about R5.2m was still due to applicants, but claimed that it was not due to a mistake on the part of respondents. The judge found, however, that the respondents' actions were wilful and in bad faith by them not making certain payments. He, therefore, found them in contempt.

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