E-toll firm loses big contract

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By ANGELIQUE SERRAO

Johannesburg - The South African branch of the company contracted to roll out the e-toll system has lost one of its biggest contracts amid allegations of irregular practices.

Traffic Management Technologies (TMT) has run the back office of the Joburg metro police department (JMPD), issuing and collecting traffic fines. It is one of the company’s biggest contracts.

But, according to an employee at TMT, the company’s contract ends next month, and while it will still be involved in front-desk operations with four other companies, TMT has not been reawarded the main back office tender.

This week, TMT staffers were seen packing up and moving out of their offices at the JMPD.

City of Joburg spokesman Gabu Tugwana said an appointment had been made, but due to “procurement guidelines” the tender award has not been announced.

TMT director Douglas Davey said their contract ended and was put out to tender.

“TMT was one of five companies that have been awarded part of the new project,” Davey said.

TMT has been at the centre of controversy over the issuing of traffic fines that were delivered by ordinary post rather than the registered mail the Aarto Act prescribes.

A court case against the JMPD by Fines 4 U has just been launched in the Johannesburg High Court because of the apparent illegality of traffic fines issued through companies, including TMT.

A draft report into the Aarto pilot implementation, which has not been made public, indicates that TMT does not follow the Aarto Act by sending out fines through standard post.

“Of the three service providers contracted by the JMPD, only Syntell and MVS are uploading the camera infringements to the NCR, but no notices are being printed and sent by registered mail by Sapo (South African Post Office), as there is no agreement as to who would pay for the postage.

“TMT sends the Aarto 03 notices of the camera infringements recorded by them by ordinary mail,” the document reads.

It is not the first time TMT has lost a multimillion-rand contract.

In Mpumalanga, their contract was cancelled after unmanned speed cameras put up around the province were declared illegal.

The same tripod speed cameras have been spotted in the south of Joburg in the last few weeks.

DA MPL in Mpumalanga Anthony Benadie said MEC of Safety and Security Vusi Shongwe could not account for R91 million that was in a municipal account managed by TMT.

“TMT managed to generate millions of rands through questionable means,” said Benadie.

“Traffic management should be about road safety, but TMT contributes nothing to road safety and instead costs taxpayers millions of rand.”

He said TMT made R63m through unmanned speed cameras during its contract.

Of significance is that last year, TMT actually cost the government and taxpayers money, as it was paid more than the amount of revenue it generated. TMT generated R45.1m from February 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012, but was paid R47.28m for its services during this period, said Benadie.

Davey said the JMPD had decided on postage methods. He added that they did not retender in Mpumalanga.

Justice Project South Africa chairman Howard Dembovsky said the cancellation of the contract was “long overdue”.

angelique.serrao@inl.co.za

The Star

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