Home Affairs briefly locks out GijimaAst


The State Attorney has stepped in after the Department of Home Affairs denied GijimaAst staff access to the “Who am I” project, in Pretoria, on Saturday.

The department sent a surprising letter to GijimaAst last week, telling it that the contract was invalid. GijimaAst says it is taking legal advice on enforcing the R2.5 billion deal, and in the meantime, will continue working on the project.

Home Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told Parliament last Wednesday that the “service provider” for the movement control system being implemented at points of entry had changed. The department has subsequently asked the South African Revenue Service to step in and help it implement “Who am I”.

GijimaAst staff members were locked out of the building at the weekend, and the listed outsourcing company’s lawyers informed the department that its action was illegal. The company’s lawyers told the department that, unless access was restored, the company would seek an urgent court order. The State Attorney responded on Sunday evening, on behalf of the department, advising GijimaAst’s lawyers that access to the building would be reinstated.

The team now has full access to the building, and GijimaAst is preparing to approach the courts to uphold the validity of its contract. Departmental spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa refused to comment on why the contract was cancelled, or why staff were shut out, only saying: “Due to the threat of litigation, we are not engaging this matter at a public level.” “Who am I” is set to run until 2012, with the first phase meant to be implemented in time for about 350 000 tourists coming into SA for the Fifa World Cup.