Technology

Emerging Pretoria tech company accuses RTMC of stealing their idea

Emerging Pretoria tech company accuses RTMC of stealing their idea
Johannesburg - A DAVID versus Goliath battle looms after an emerging Pretoria company accused the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) of stealing their idea for the online booking system.

From last year, motorists in Gauteng have been able to make pre-bookings online for the renewal of their driving and learner's licences.

When the system was first launched, the national Department of Transport said introducing the online booking system on eNaTIS would improve service delivery and minimise corruption by officials.

But the system, which was met with excitement by motorists, left a bitter taste in the mouths of Techub, a Pretoria-based company.

The company claims it came up with the system and had sent its proposals for two years to the RTMC for possible approval. It also claims the RTMC implemented its system without giving it any credit.

One of the owners of the company, Herman Mawela, has claimed it developed the online application system in 2016. 

“We first took it to the Tshwane metro police department and they said we should take it to the RTMC.”

Mawela added that the company sent emails of the plan to several employees of the RTMC but never received a response. To his dismay, last year he saw an announcement based on what he claimed was his system.

“After we sent our presentation in 2016, the officials stopped being available. Every time we called, the officials were either not available or in meetings,” Mawela said.

He said the system that was introduced last year was tweaked a bit from what they had proposed.

“Our system had some extras like paying for your traffic fines online.”

The RTMC has vehemently denied that it stole Mawela’s idea.

Spokesperson Simon Zwane said: “We would not do that to an entrepreneur. We are a government that believes in empowering people and not taking advantage of them.”

Zwane said the RTMC started working on the concept in 2007. 

“We introduced the telephone booking in Gauteng on the eNaTIS system. We then refreshed the idea in 2011. The IT department reworked the functionality in 2017 in preparation for the launch.”

Zwane added that the employees to whom Mawela sent his idea did not work directly on the project. “The employees are not in the IT environment and would not know what plans were there. We are prepared to invite him to come to our office and see all the preparatory work for himself,” Zwane said.