Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
7 Nov 2019
6:33 am

Service provider pulls cyberplug on City of Joburg

Sipho Mabena

Dimension Data restored all critical systems, with the exclusion of the call centre, after reaching an agreement with the city.

Johannesburg skyline. Picture: Thinkstock

The City of Joburg’s information and communication technology (ICT) system was brought down on Tuesday due to a contractual dispute with a service provider which left the metro without internet or e-mail access. Most services have been reinstated.

The metro became a target of a cyberattack recently, with the hackers threatening to release compromised city data if a ransom worth about R400,000 was not paid.

City of Joburg spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane yesterday confirmed information and communications technology service provider Dimension Data had suspended its services “due to a legacy contract dispute dating back to 2011, when the city entered into an agreement with Dimension Data.

The contract was extended “multiple times via section 116 (3) of the [Municipal Finance Agreement Act] and expenditure incurred for services rendered”.

Modingoane said a new contract was signed in June 2016, along with a subsequent service level agreement (SLA) signed by the then group executive director responsible for IT.

The subsequent SLA extended services over and above the scope of the approved contract and services continued to be rendered and invoiced.

“The city and Dimension Data have been involved in a protracted legal dispute and a settlement has been reached,” said Modingoane.

All network-dependent applications were affected by the suspension and all critical systems, with the exclusion of the call centre, have been restored.

The ANC in the Johannesburg region yesterday said it was shocked that the metro’s ICT systems was not operational.

Regional spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said, to its knowledge, the dispute related to an outstanding payment of about R100 million to the service provider, which had been owed for six months.

He said the non-payment had resulted in e-mails not working, as well as staff being unable to send out bills via e-mail, and customer’s e-mails not going through to the revenue department.

“The service provider is responsible for the metro’s entire ICT, meaning everything that needs ICT to be processed has come to a halt.

“This will result in revenue losses amounting to billions of rands, thereby bringing the city to its knees,” Matongo said.

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