Cape Town - The department of transport on Thursday refuted a claim by the Democratic Alliance that it unlawfully renewed a contract for managing the national traffic information system eNaTIS without putting it out to tender.
It said government was not renewing a contract with Tasima for managing the system but implementing a transfer clause in the original contract, signed in 2001, that allows handover of the system from the company to the state.
This clause means that Tasima's services are being phased out, but that the company is obligated to support the system while services are transferred to the state and new service providers.
"Through Schedule 15... the department invokes rectification of the contract in line with the Public Financement Management Act in order to ensure that proper internal capacity is built within the department and the Road Traffic Management Corporation to take over certain functions performed by the service provider, and to issue separate smaller tenders for some of the technical services that cannot be performed internally.
"A tool as critical as the eNaTIS cannot be disrupted without a guarantee of the ensured continuity of services."
The department had noted with "concern but also surprise" a claim by DA transport spokesperson Stuart Farrow that it had renewed the contract with Tasima for five years "in spite of a serious breakdown in services being offered" and warnings that the contract be put to tender.
Farrow said on Wednesday that the DA would call on the chairperson of Parliament's watchdog public accounts committee, Themba Godi, to launch an inquiry into whether the department had violated the PFMA.