In an urgent application before the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday, the RTMC asked Judge Neil Tuchten to order Tasima, the company managing the eNatis system, to immediately vacate its premises in Midrand and hand over all vehicle-related data.
The corporation and the department of transport told the court that in November the Constitutional Court gave Tasima 30 days in which to hand over the system.
Tasima, on the other hand, said it needed time to do so as this was not a simple process. According to Tasima, the Constitutional Court merely meant that the process had to start within 30 days of its order and not that everything had to be completed within that time. The issue before court was how the Constitutional Court order had to be interpreted.
The highest court in the country handed down the order after it found that the extension of Tasima’s tender to manage the eNatis system was unlawful.
Advocate Etienne Labuschagne SC, on behalf of the RTMC, said the order was clear that the system had to be handed over within 30 days. He said Tasima had to hand over control of the e-Natis system and all data immediately. Staff running the system could stay, he said.
But advocate Alistair Franklin, for Tasima, said it was not so easy. In a counter-application he asked the court to direct a handover plan, so that the transfer could be done in an orderly manner.
He said the Constitutional Court did allow for a migration plan to ensure that the handover went smoothly and over a period of time. It was said that the eNatis system was a nationwide system of enormous complexity.
Franklin said apart from handing over the system gradually, Tasima also had to be paid its operation costs during this time.
Judge Tuchten said he could not alter the Constitutional Court order, but could merely interpret it. But the judge questioned Tasima’s counsel at length on why it did not simply hand over the system, as the court in any way ordered that the extension of its tender was unlawful.
Franklin said they could not simply hand over, as they had a responsibility to see that things ran smoothly.
'You should be grateful'
“If you hand over you will be free from your obligations. If the court ordered you to leave, it would absolve you,” the judge said.
Franklin responded that an immediate handover would place the country and the system in chaos. He said if all went well and according to plan, they might be ready to hand over within eight weeks.
A national disaster, meanwhile, was avoided when Tasima paid a portion of its outstanding R8 million bill to Telkom last week. The latter threatened to cut all data connection, after it had already cut the phone lines to the centre.