Anthony Benadie MPL
DA Mpumalanga Leader
After months of investigation, questions, statements, complaints and enquiry, the DA can today reveal how the company, Traffic Management Technologies (TMT) coined millions of rand during their three-year contract with the Mpumalanga provincial government. TMT, through the provision of unmanned speed cameras made a whopping R63 million, from the inception of their contract in 2009 to October 2011, of which R47,28 million was made in the final year of their contract alone.
According to the service agreement between the provincial government and TMT, the company would generate and issue fines to motorists exceeding speed limits, through the strategic deployment of unmanned cameras on Mpumalanga roads. TMT would then be paid R48 (excluding VAT) for every “infringement notice captured/printed” (fine issued) and R12 (excluding VAT) for each fine paid by motorists. TMT would invoice the department on a monthly basis, whereafter government agreed to pay such invoices within 30 days.
Assuming that few or no fines would be less than R100, TMT would have had to issue over 750 000 fines in 2011 alone, in order to generate the R47 million paid to them last year. This, however implies that only 26 000 fines were issued in the preceding two years of the agreement (2009 and 2010), as TMT was only paid approximately R15,7 million during that period. This scenario is not only highly questionable, but also highly unlikely, as it would imply that in 2011 TMT issued over 2 045 traffic fines a day, and that all were paid.
Of significance is that, in 2011 TMT actually cost the government and taxpayers money, as they were paid more than the amount of revenue they generated. According to a written reply in response to DA questions, the MEC for community safety, security and liaison, Mr Vusi Shongwe indicated that while TMT generated R45,1 million from 1 February 2011 to 31 January 2012, TMT was paid R47,28 million for their services rendered during this period. Based on the contractual agreement, this is practically impossible. In fact, considering that the department should not have paid TMT more than R60 per fine issued and paid, it only makes logical sense that government should have generated a greater revenue income from the contract than TMT.
Of concern is the fact that despite an undertaking by MEC Shongwe on 8 November 2011 to audit the TMT bank account, the MEC has now indicated that “the Audit was not conducted as the Office of the Premier’s Internal Audit Unit that was requested only indicated during the month of February this year that there may not have the capacity to audit previous years account as their focus is more on current and limited to the dcssl”.
While the DA believes that this is a deliberate act not to reveal answers to the questionable deal between TMT and government, an audit should technically not be required as, according to the contract with TMT, the department would have been invoiced monthly before payment was made. As such, rather than an audit, the department could merely have provided the monthly reconciled invoices and evidence of monthly payments to TMT. This in turn begs the question, was TMT paid without monthly reconciliations and invoicing? Regardless, the department will have to provide this evidence to the Auditor General for its annual department audit anyway.
While the DA has already submitted a formal complaint against the department with the Public Protector regarding the validity of the fines issued by TMT, a finding by the Public Protector in favour of the DA and declaring such TMT fines invalid would have a devastating impact on government, as the millions mentioned above would potentially have to be repaid to motorists.
It is clear that TMT coined millions out of Mpumalanga motorists, through a highly questionable contract that sought only to benefit TMT, and as such, the DA will be requesting the Auditor General to conduct an audit of the concerned accounts, invoices and payments to TMT, and based on the findings, will determine further action on this matter.