This morning, 31 October, it was reported by Talk Radio 702 on air that the OUTsurance 702 Pointsmen project had been cancelled and that today was the project’s last day. The debate that followed on air, and the contributions made by the different people quoted could have left the public confused as to what is the official way forward and stance of OUTsurance with regards to this matter. In order to clear this up, we’d like to explain the story:
- A company called Traffic Freeflow (TFF) runs the project and OUTsurance is its principal and original sponsor;
- TFF has been operating the project over the past 6 years according to a service level agreement with the City;
- That service level agreement expired at the end of September 2011 but the JMPD extended TFF’s operations until the end of October;
- There are various legal challenges with regards to how this project operates within the ambit of the National Road Traffic Act which we have been aware of and had raised with the City many months ago. The main issue is that the pointsmen, who are currently “Reserve Traffic Wardens”, need to be converted to the status of “Peace Officers”;
- Furthermore the City felt, although the project does not cost the City a cent, the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) need to be adhered to. This act governs the procurement policies of the City and all contracts that the City enters into. In order to observe these provisions, it had been agreed to between the stakeholders in September that the City would advertise a public “Request for Proposal” from companies interested in providing pointsmen services to the City;
- It was expected that TFF would continue to operate the project while this process was being concluded;
- TFF, OUTsurance and 702 were thus surprised when we received a letter from the City cancelling the project as of end October;
- The stakeholders were in discussions until late on Friday evening to ensure the continuation of the project during the tender process, particularly to protect the jobs of over 200 people;
- The pointsmen will be converted to Peace Officers over the next few days. This is an administrative process but in order to do this, they will not be able to be on the streets for the remainder of the week;
- The City will call for proposals in the foreseeable future so as to comply with the provisions of the PFMA. TFF and OUTsurance will take part in this process.
- It is the understanding of TFF and OUTsurance that the project will continue to operate during the proposal process.
Willem Roos, CEO of OUTsurance Holdings, comments “OUTsurance remains fully supportive of this fantastic project which contributes to the community at large. We are appreciative of the City’s and 702’s efforts to keep the project going. As in the past, we are commited to follow a robust process to put the project on a sound legal footing.”