eNatis way over budget

2013-02-27 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The government has paid almost R1 billion more than budgeted for the Transport Department’s road traffic management system, eNatis.

The original contract for the development of the system was worth R594 million, but the cost has risen by R936 million to a staggering R1,53 billion.

The figures were contained in a report by the Auditor-General to the portfolio committee on Transport.

The eNatis system is supposed to streamline applications for driver’s licences, learner’s permits, licence renewals, and vehicle registrations.

The A-G’s investigation also revealed that, despite the cost escalation, the department extended the contract in May 2010 for another five years, without following a competitive tender process.

The department, in documents tabled before the committee, said it sought two legal opinions on the contract extension.

Both were that the extension was invalid. However, negotiations between the department and the service provider to declare the contract invalid broke down.

The department is now pursuing legal options in regard to the contract, MPs were told.

The A-G also had questions about the department’s taxi recapitalisation programme.

“The budget for the project between May 2006 and September 2013 is R640 million.

However, the project was not properly implemented, and the budget grew to R2,1 billion,” according to the report.

Under the programme, the government sought to get unroadworthy taxis off the roads by paying a subsidy to owners for the purchase of new vehicles.

The A-G also said the department has no idea what became of money received for the scrap metal from taxis that were scrapped.

DA MP Ian Ollis said it could be asked if the affected taxis were ever in fact scrapped, adding that this pointed to corruption in the department.

Deputy Transport Minister Sindy Chikunga declined to comment on the report yesterday, saying: “The department will come and discuss the issue with the committee at a later stage”.

Meanwhile, the contract of Transport director-general George Mahlasela has not been renewed.

Chikunga declined to comment on the reasons, but said it did not necessarily have anything to do with the department’s problems.

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