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ETC shareholders have stakes in bidder for Sanral e-toll tender

Austria-based Kapsch TrafficCom AG has a 5% shareholding in Kusa Kokutsha.
The majority shareholder in Kusa Kokutsha, according to the chair of outgoing operator ETC, is a staff trust with a 51% stake in the company. Image: Moneyweb

Major initial shareholders in Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), the existing service provider to the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) for the management of e-tolls, are shareholders in one of the bidders for a new e-tolls management tender.

Douglas Davey, who chairs the board of ETC, confirmed this on Thursday, adding that ETC did not submit a bid for the tender because it is a special purpose vehicle and was therefore established only to manage and operate the Gauteng tolling system.

However, Davey said a company that did submit a bid was Kusa Kokutsha, in which SA-based TMT Services and Supplies has a 44% shareholding and Kapsch TrafficCom AG a 5% stake. 

TMT is based in Cape Town and is described on its website as a Kapsch TrafficCom company, trading as Traffic Management Technologies (TMT).

The majority shareholder in Kusa Kokutsha is a staff trust, with a 51% stake in the company.

ETC’s original shareholders were TMT and Austria-based Kapsch TrafficCom AG.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said this week that three companies had submitted bids in response to a Sanral tender for the management of its open road tolling system in Gauteng, its national Transaction Clearing House (TCH) and its violations processing centre.

Read: Sanral receives bids of up to R11.4bn for e-toll management – Outa

They are Phambili joint venture (JV) with a bid of R11.399 billion, Kusa Kokutsha (R7.548 billion) and SAeTO, which did not list a bid amount, it said.

Sanral confirmed on Monday that it is evaluating tenders it received for the continued management of e-tolls after its existing contract with ETC expires on December 2.

Outa said Kusa Kokutsha was only registered as a business on August 26, appears to have been set up specifically to bid for the Sanral contract and, through its directors, is linked to outgoing contractor ETC.

‘Locally owned’ is an objective

Davey said on Thursday the main reason for creating this new company is to build a sustainable business entity that is truly transformed, locally owned and where all staff can participate in economic transformation.

“Through a staff trust, Kusa [Kokutsha] employees and other qualifying employees working for South African entities of the Kapsch Group will have over 51% ownership of the business.

“Participating Kusa employees will directly benefit in the success of the company. Dividends of Kusa will be distributed to the trust and distributed to all participants.

“With a membership of 90% black participants, the staff trust is truly empowered and this contributes to Kusa achieving a level 1 B-BBEE status,” he said.

Davey added that Kusa Kokutsha will have a broader service offering than ETC and provide smart mobility services to the industry across the continent, with Kapsch TrafficCom AG providing the global expertise needed.

Global technologies

“This access to global transport technologies and international expertise, combined with localised knowledge, sets Kusa apart from other intelligent transport solution players in the market.”

Davey said to provide a cost-effective and seamless approach for the tender, continuity of service and the retention of skills is needed.

“To do this, Kusa, if awarded the tender, will take over the majority of the skilled and trained ETC employees and will continue to enhance the technology platform developed by TMT Services and Supplies and its global partner.

“This not only makes sense in terms of the contract delivery but also alleviates any potential for job or skills loss in this specialised sector,” he said.

Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said earlier this week that only part of the tender issued by Sanral relates to e-tolls on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

Read: Sanral tender is not only for GFIP e-tolls

Read: E-toll accounts could be used to pay for parking, licence renewals

Mona said the tender issued is scalable and, among other things, is for the operation of all services relating to the TCH, including the clearing of electronic toll transactions at conventional toll plazas and the suite of value-added services, such as parking payments.

Ayanda Allie Paine, a spokesperson for Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, confirmed this week that the task team report on government options for e-tolls has been sent through for Cabinet processes and her understanding is that it will be included for discussion by Cabinet at some point before the end of the year.

Read: Sanral e-toll revenue slumps 63% in year to March 2019

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