Pretoria - The high court has confirmed its earlier judgment giving the Transport Department the go-ahead to transfer the electronic national traffic information system function to the Road Traffic Management Corporation.
This is despite Tasima, the company that lost out on the contract following a lawsuit, giving notice that it intended appealing against the earlier judgment.
An appeal normally suspends an order, pending the finalisation of the appeal, unless exceptional circumstances can be proved as to why the order should remain in force.
Judge Wendy Hughes in this case found it was in the public interest that the order she had handed down in June, remained in force pending the finalisation of Tasima’s appeal.
The judge earlier ordered the eNatis function be transferred to RTMC with effect May 1. She also set aside the decision by then director-general of transport, George Mahlalela, to extend the contract of Tasima for five years.
On the same day the judgment was delivered in June, Tasima lodged an application for leave to appeal. It is still to be heard.
The eNatis system has been declared a national key point and it is being operated at the premises of the department. Tasima’s lease of the premises ended on June 30 this year and a new lease was concluded with RTMC.
As the department had indicated that RTMC was the preferred entity to take over from Tasima, RTMC readied itself to take over the office. But Tasima does not want to let go.
The department, in asking the court in the latest legal bid to enforce its earlier order, said no matter what the outcome of Tasima’s bid appeal, its contract had ended.
Tasima argues that it is at present in possession of the eNatis system and the status quo should prevail in light of the appeal.
The department countered that it was in the public interest that the system be removed from Tasima as the contract no longer existed and “irregular expenditure” had already been incurred. There was also a probe under way into Tasima’s alleged “monopolistic and financial gain” regarding the eNatis system.
Judge Hughes said there were exceptional circumstances not to put her earlier order on ice. “The eNatis system has been held at ransom… This leaves the public having no relief if a national crisis were to evolve within the eNatis system.”
To protect the public, the department should go ahead and transfer the system to the RTMC, she said.