|By The company accused by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department of wasting R46-million of ratepayers’ money has launched a stinging counter-attack.
The JMPD terminated the services of 2Big Mobile in writing in January for non-delivery, but the City of Johannesburg’s mayoral committee overruled the department and refused to cancel the contract.
Yesterday The Star exposed the metro police scandal that involved R46-million being paid to a company which allegedly did not deliver services.
Now it appears Joburg ratepayers could fork out millions of rands for duplicated IT services as 2Big Mobile Applications – the company whose services were terminated by metro police – prepares to take legal action.
Mokgatle Maesela, operations director of 2Big, said yesterday his company was unable to implement the technology because the JMPD was blocking it by not signing relevant contracts with other service providers such as Telkom and Absa.
“We have all the systems waiting and ready to go but we are dependent on the JMPD doing certain things, but this has not been done,” he said.
The JMPD, now paying about R6-million a month for similar services to another company, Syntel, claims 2Big’s technology was antiquated and that several services promised were never provided.
2Big was, among others, providing an SMS system for motorists to find out if they had fines, an Internet service for motorists to check fines, and cellphone technology for traffic officers at roadblocks to check on the details of motorists.
Maesela said his company had the identical technology to that used by Syntel, which is operating a new “payfine” system by which motorists can check their fines and pay immediately online.
Maesela claims his company pioneered the system and patented it, and other companies copied it.
“We will fight this issue to the bitter end until we get paid for the work we have done.
“We developed and patented the services over the years for he JMPD and provided the services we were contracted to.
“We even have an IT audit certificate from the department stating they are satisfied with our services,” said Maesela.
Meanwhile, 2Big has now suspended all operations, even though the mayoral committee refused to cancel the contract.
“We have suspended all, except for our cellphone service for traffic officers because they want to continue using the system.”
Maesela said that in spite of being told by their bosses not to use 2Big’s cellphones, many traffic officers were still using the 2Big system.
This involved stopping motorists at roadblocks and allowing officers to check the car and the driver and to search the car.
With the new vehicle identification system, said Maesela, only number plates were checked, which allowed others to get away.
Investigations by The Star have revealed that there was a personal dispute between JMPD chief Chris Ngcobo and one of his directors, the late Derek Masoek, who appointed 2Big Mobile as the IT service providers before he resigned from the department.
Insiders claim it is because of this personal dispute between the two men that the metro police department was attempting to cut 2Big out of the picture.
Despite the mayoral committee’s decision, the JMPD went ahead and cut off 2Big Mobile from its computer and data systems on June 13, thus preventing them from providing further services.
The JMPD has refused to comment, saying the matter would be resolved in court.
Metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the department would not be commenting on any aspects of the matter.
He denied there was anything personal in the cancellation of the contract.
A new company had been appointed, through a tender process, to provide technology which would be “beneficial to motorists”.