Sanral evaluating tenders for new e-toll management contract

Cabinet decision on e-tolls expected before the end of the year.
Government may go ahead with its plans to enforce e-tolls, as it seeks a new candidate to take up management of the system. Image: Moneyweb

The SA National Road Agency (Sanral) is evaluating tenders it received for the continued management of e-tolls after its existing contract with Electronic Tolling Collections (ETC) expires next month, suggesting the government plans to continue with the controversial system.

However, Ayanda Allie Paine, a spokesperson for Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, stressed on Monday that everything continues as normal until Cabinet’s final announcement on e-tolls.

Read: E-tolls to be retained on GFIP

Paine said this also means that Sanral will be remiss to not issue any tender or advertise anything in line with its processes.

“The law must take its course and we must continue as normal up until that date and, if it is scrapped, then deal with it from that point going back – but if not, then we do continue,” she said.

Mbalula said at a media briefing on October 31 that a decision on e-tolls would be taken by Cabinet within the next two weeks (by November 14, last Thursday).

Read: Government back-tracks on Tito Mboweni’s e-toll comments

Paine said on Monday that the report on e-tolls has been sent through for Cabinet processes and that it will decide when it will be up for discussion and when that decision will be made.

“At the moment the process is out of the transport department’s hands and is now subject [to] formal processes at Cabinet,” she said.

Two weeks became three

Paine said Mbalula did previously appear before Cabinet, which required the task team to do a bit more work and extended the time period by two weeks, which became three weeks because the investment summit delayed the Cabinet meeting by a week.

She said Cabinet did not include e-tolls in its discussions at last week’s meeting, but “my understanding is that it will be included at some point before the end of the year”.

Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona confirmed that the current contract awarded to ETC, which is owned by Austria-based firm Kapsch, has not been extended again and that Sanral issued a tender on August 19.

The tender as advertised is for the operations and maintenance of an open road tolling system in Gauteng, a national transaction clearing house, and a violations processing centre.

ETC’s contract was extended last year for a further year until December 2.

Mona said Sanral is in the tender evaluation phase in accordance with the tender programme, according to which a new contractor must be appointed to commence work by December 3.

He said the contract is for a period of 72 months, with an option to extend for another 24 months.

“Provision has been made for a handover period in the tender programme to ensure that there is no interruption of e-toll services,” he said.

Most staff will be protected

Commenting on what will happen to ETC employees if another company is awarded the contract, Mona said the bulk of the ETC staff is protected in terms of Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act.

Wayne Duvenage, CEO of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), is interested to know how many companies tendered.

“We are very intrigued by who wanted to tender for a failed scheme. We can’t see anyone tendering apart from ETC.”

Duvenage said Outa will also be interested in what the tender was for, the amounts that were tendered, and by whom.

“Hopefully Sanral is a lot more transparent this time around with regard to all the tender processes and information and the contract, because it was all subject to such secrecy last time,” he said.

Mbalula stressed in October that the task team President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed to report to him on the options available for e-tolls, is not working on a scheme to implement e-tolls in terms of the current scheme, but on a reconfigured approach that could entail non-payment.

He said more than seven proposals on the e-toll scheme are being considered.

The first and most popular option involves the cancellation of the e-toll scheme and the withdrawal of declaration for Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme (GFIP) phase one road work, he said.

Mbalula said this option involves government taking full responsibility for the debt-servicing obligation of the scheme but questioned where government would find the money for it.

The other options are:

  • A partial shadow toll, a scheme where government’s subsidy contribution is less than 100%;
  • Selling the GFIP to a private concessionaire;
  • The introduction of a public transport fund that will prioritise public transport;
  • A hybrid funding model comprising a combination of taxes, such as a fuel levy and licences, to subsidise toll fees;
  • A further dispensation and physical toll plaza installations; and
  • To implement the e-toll scheme as it was intended.

Mbalula said the total unpaid toll fees will peak at R67 billion, and will require an annual allocation of R2 billion from government to service the 30-year repayment period for the outstanding debt, after government has also written off all outstanding toll debts.

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Why are they running away fro the fuel levying route? R2,5 per litre in all petrol in the PWV area will be more than enough for this project and the money should go to treasury and not SANRAL…

R2-50/l? Back in 2010 it was calculated at R0-16/l which would have been sufficient to cover the entire 20 000 Million debt at the time.

The answer to this obvious but unacceptable solution is well known.
They will not be able to collect “commissions” (back-handers) from the “management company”, the one out of the country in Austria.

As I wrote 3 years ago, when the government wants your money THEY WILL GET IT!! Buy the stupid tag.

No, they haven’t and they won’t.

And support their theft? – no muchacho.

Not buying a tag. Over 75% of drivers in the etoll area do not have tags. The ANC can NEVER resuscitate this crooked scheme – the public have spoken. Cars have been sold, post boxes closed – how on earth does Sanral think they can ever ever enforce this horrendous political hot potato?

Dear Sanral – GFY’s and your stupid ideas for tolling us – We WILL NOT PAY !!! what about this can you not comprehend !!!!!!

The roads sector is way to juicy for the ANC looters to ignore. The whole road system could be easily run by competent, honest, apolitical and professional engineers with a modest fuel levy. No toll delays and additonal cost structures.

But no, roads must be tolled, the toll contractors get a 10% or 20% premium for having the “right” skin colour; apartheid style and even more if the correct political affiliations. Contracts are secret and additions made willy nilly; all adding layers of cost into the SA economy. Then some clowns wonder why it isn’t growing!

LOL – Idiots
There are none so blind as those who will not see

This is a scheme to keep the gravy train alive. Cut the cabinet in half and do away with provinces, and you will have more that enough money the to pay for the roads built. And you will have money over!

I hear that the have found a company to run the E Tolls. Money will be paid and you will get an E tag. The company is called Guzoo.

The owners are the Gupta brothers and J Z also known as Zuma. After all he is so poor and needs to raise funds for his court cases where he is innocent. The crimes were caused by the Apartheid Government.

There is only one option available to them if they want me to pay e-tolls. They will have to send Eben Etsebeth and Tendai Mtawarira to my front door, and Faf de Klerk to catch me before I jump over the wall in the backyard.

True patriots and tax-revolters don’t pay e-tolls.

The toll money is basically stolen by the collection company and employees, and isn’t used for roads and debt payments. The money disappears before it’s used for the roads. Tolls are not supposed to be used for collection companies, lawyers, printer ink, paper, postage, and e-toll employees picking their noses all day.

“Ayanda Allie Paine, a spokesperson for Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, stressed on Monday that everything continues as normal”.
Surely that means that they are satisfied with the R60 million they are getting every month?

Tellingly, none of the options included “Stop stealing”.

It would be interesting to know if the tenders include a clause allowing SANREL to cancel if the ANC finally decides to cancel the mess. Or will it involve massive penalty clauses? Could be a nice way for a nomenklatura to loot the state.

End of comments.

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