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Sanral defends where toll money will go

Jun 12 2013 16:11 Sapa
E-tolls

E-tolls (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Money collected from e-tolling in Gauteng will not go overseas, the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said on Wednesday.

"Of course, everyone is now jumping on the political bandwagon that once e-tolling commences, all the collected monies will be going overseas. This is simply not true," spokesperson Vusi Mona said in a statement.

"What must also be made clear is that all tolls collected on GFIP [Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project] go to Sanral. ETC [Electronic Toll Collection joint venture] is paid for services rendered on a monthly basis, and the payment is strictly according to a bill of quantities as specified in the tender contract."

Mona said the dividends they declared could be paid to foreign companies only after income tax was paid in South Africa.

Sanral awarded the e-tolling contract to the ETC because its tender was more than R2bn lower than the next offer, he said.

This followed an announcement by Austrian company Kapsch TrafficCom that its "loss-making days" would end when e-tolling started.

Kapsch TraffiCom announced on Tuesday that it would get an annual revenue boost of more than €50m (about R669m) from e-tolling, including operational costs and selling the system hardware and software to Sanral.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) expressed its shock at Kapsch TraffiCom's announcement.

"This is money that is being extracted directly from the pockets of hard-pressed citizens to improve the profits and wealth of overseas business," chairperson Wayne Duvenage said in a statement.

"The figure Kapsch mentions is around 45% of the annual running costs for the e-tolling system quoted by Sanral and the South African Treasury, which depicts sizeable profits for an offshore company, paid for by the Gauteng road user."

He said figures in Outa's possession indicated the e-tolling system would collect revenue of between R3bn and R3.5bn a year. About R1.5bn a year would be spent on collecting toll monies, managed by Kapsch TraffiCom.

Duvenage said the scale of Kapsch's earnings left no doubt about the reasons for the high costs involved.

"Sanral talks about improving the lives of the poor through e-tolling. How does sending over half-a-billion rand per annum into the coffers of an offshore company improve the lives of the poor or be in the best interest of the South African citizen," he asked.

In April, Sanral said it would begin e-tolling on Gauteng roads within two months.

Last April, the High Court in Pretoria granted Outa an interdict approving a full judicial review before electronic tolling could be implemented.

The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of the review. Sanral and the National Treasury appealed the court order.

In September, the Constitutional Court set aside the interim order. In December, the High Court in Pretoria dismissed Outa's application to scrap e-tolling.

The court granted Outa leave on January 25 to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. The appeal is expected to be heard on September 25 and 26.

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outa  |  sanral  |  tolls
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