R225m IT contract for former office of the chief justice officials

By Jenna Verster for News24

Three officials who used to work at the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) have reportedly been accused of setting themselves up to benefit from a R225-million IT contract, awarded to multinational media and technology company Thomson Reuters.

The Sunday Times reported that the contract relates to the national rollout of the CaseLines project, a digital electronic case management and litigation system which was piloted at the high courts in Johannesburg and Pretoria to allow virtual hearings in the courts.

Thomson Reuters acquired CaseLines, now known as Case Centre, in 2020,

The newspaper reported that former CFO Casper Coetzer, former spokesperson and chief director of court administration Nathi Mncube, and former case management director Yvonne van Niekerk, helped to set up the six-year contract before they resigned and worked their last day on 31 May.

On 1 June, they started in their new positions as directors of ZA Square Consulting, acting as local partners to Thomson Reuters. They are reportedly set to earn at least R67.5 million through the subcontract.

In a statement on Sunday, the OCJ said it was in the process of gathering all relevant information to the matter and is taking legal advice.

“At the appropriate time, the OCJ will inform the public on the matter. We can assure the public that the State funds relating to this matter are safe. In view of this, the OCJ will not at this stage be making further comments or providing any additional information in this regard.”

Thomson Reuters told the newspaper the local company was awarded the subcontract on merit and it had no contact with the three directors as part of the bid process.

Mncube, speaking for the trio, said there was no wrongdoing because their contract began on 1 June and their company had not earned any income until their employment at OCJ ended.


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