Foreign firms coin over R550m from SA's loss-making e-tolls | Fin24
 
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Foreign firms coin over R550m from SA's loss-making e-tolls

Jul 11 2017 14:35
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – Two overseas companies have earned more than R550m for providing e-tags to and printing and distributing invoices for South Africa’s loss-making e-toll system.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi responded to a parliamentary question posed by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Chris Hunsinger about the breakdown of payments to third parties for e-toll collection and e-tag provision.

Maswanganyi said Kapsch TrafficCom AB from Sweden and Q-Free ASA from Norway have been contracted for e-tag provision and maintenance.

Kapsch TrafficCom (a subsidiary of Austrian company Kapsch) received R167.2m (exclusive of VAT), while Q-Free got R58.3m (exclusive of VAT) for providing e-tags.

The amounts reflect the total that Sanral paid for e-tags upon delivery since the inception of the e-toll system in December 2013.

Sanral told Fin24 that the amounts paid to the two companies are exclusive of value-added tax (VAT), as it is claimed back by the companies. 

In 2010, Kapsch, with Matemeku Investments, a level 2 broad-based BEE company that was invested in TMT Services and Supplies, won a R6.2bn tender from roads agency Sanral for the design and operation of the e-toll system in Gauteng. Together they made up the e-tolls collections company Electronic Toll Collections (ETC).

Matemeku subsequently divested from ETC, which meant that Kapsch gained full control of the collection company after acquiring three Cape Town-based firms, TMT Services and Supplies, Berrydust 51 and Mobiserve.

Maswanganyi said in a separate parliamentary response earlier this month that ETC received R2.2bn for full toll operations since the inception of e-tolls on 3 December 2013. 

Action group OUTA has calculated that this makes up 74% of the system’s total e-toll income, which means it was being paid to a foreign company.

Invoice printing and posting

In addition to the R225m payment for e-tags provision, Sanral has also paid a further R327.2m to Kapsch Sweden and Q-Free since December 2013 for invoice printing and posting for e-toll collection. These amounts are also exclusive VAT.

This brings the total amount paid to the two companies to R552.7m.

Fin24 earlier reported that the majority of South Africa’s motorists are still not paying e-tolls. Sanral revealed that only about 30% of invoices generated to motorists who use Gauteng’s toll roads have been paid over a 24-month period.

Of the more than 1.8 billion invoices that were issued in the past 24 months, more than 1.3 billion (more than 71%) were unpaid. 

As at the end of March 2016, the amount owed to e-tolls by non-registered users amounted to R7.2bn. Sanral at the time said it could not provide the total outstanding e-toll debt, as the state-owned entity still needed to complete its financial audits. 

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