MyCiTi company hits back

Zara Nicholson

Metro Writer

THE company which lost the R234 million contract it had secured for an IT system for MyCiTi operations hit back yesterday – it denied it had underperformed and vowed to sue the city if the contract is not reinstated.

Lumen Technologies CC said deputy mayor and mayoral committee member for finance Ian Neilson had failed to disclose the facts behind the cancellation of the seven-year contract.

On Friday, Neilson said the contract with Lumen Technologies CC – appointed in 2011 to install and maintain an IT system for the MyCiTi bus operations – had been cancelled due to underperformance.

Bus operations were being monitored manually until a new contractor was appointed, he said.

In an interview with the Cape Times yesterday, Lumen Technologies CC director Sedicka Chilwan rebutted allegations of underperformance and said they had had successfully launched every MyCiTi route they took on.

“We are disputing the cancellation of the contract. We want it reinstated or we will lodge a damages claim,” Chilwan said, and added the claim would be in excess of R50 million.

Equipment and systems Lumen

installed allows bus drivers to select routes, inform passengers about stops and routes, and communicate with the control centre during emergencies. Lumen’s contract was the cornerstone of the MyCiTi operation, she said.

“The information we provide is pivotal to fare collection so that commuters can be charged correctly.”

She said before the city cancelled the contract, Lumen successfully launched the Hout Bay MyCiTi route and city officials had commended the company.

Chilwan said the city gave Lumen until February 28 to correct a problem, but cancelled the contract on February 21 before the problem could be solved .

She also said the company had offered to keep the system running, in the public’s interest, but had received no reply.

“Lumen rebuts the allegation that its service is not compliant, as the engineers approved and signed off the necessary tests,” she said.

Chilwan said to date Lumen had been paid just under R141m of the R234m and that 85 percent of this amount was spent on subcontractors, employees and expenses.

She also said that while the city paid foreign suppliers millions of rand months before equipment was delivered, the city had still not paid Lumen for maintaining equipment in about 186 MyCiTi feeder buses since April.

City executive director for transport Melissa Whitehead said Lumen had continually failed to correct the holistic system for the control centre. Lumen was the lead contractor for the entire system made up of numerous subcontractors which it had to manage.

“The overall contract was worth R234m to Lumen, who then subcontracted the majority of the work. The City is concerned with the overall finalisation of the system, which Lumen was accountable for and failed to do,” she said.

Lumen had failed to provide consistency in the system, Whitehead said.

“One example was the fact that for six whole weeks the system was devoid of data,” she said.

She said the City had acknowledged Lumen had fulfilled some of the functions as contracted, but failed to compete the whole system and had not signed off on it.

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