At the time when more monies are needed to resolve the much of the country’s financial challenges, comes a report of a mass waste of public fund worth R327 million at e-toll.
A recent report by Fin24, has it that the electronic toll collection processes employed by South Africa’s roads agency Sanral forked out and wasted R327 million on printing and posting e-toll invoices.
The said monies were reportedly given to Kapsch Sweden and Q-Free since December 2013 when e-tolls first launched for invoice printing and posting for e-toll collection. Interestingly, these amounts don’t even include VAT.
The R327 million spent on printing and posting e-toll invoices is just one of the two areas the monies collected from the electronic toll collection processes.
According to the response of Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi on DA’s parliamentary question, Kapsch TrafficCom AB from Sweden and Q-Free ASA from Norway are the two foreign companies that have earned more than R550m for providing e-tags to and printing and distributing invoices for South Africa’s loss-making e-toll system.
The DA’s Chris Hunsinger requested for a breakdown of payments to third parties for e-toll collection and e-tag provision.
While Kapsch TrafficCom (a subsidiary of Austrian company Kapsch) received R167.2m (exclusive of VAT), Q-Free got R58.3m (exclusive of VAT) for providing e-tags.
In sum, the two firms pocketed a cool R552.7m. The amounts reflect the total amount Sanral paid for e-tags upon delivery since the inception of the e-toll system in December 2013.
This exposition comes at the times when the people are raising concerns on the whereabout of the monies gathered from the e-toll go to.
In June Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi claimed that Sanral had collected R2.9 billion in e-toll fees since the system’s inception. But a Parliamentary question revealed that only 30% of invoices had been paid over a 24-month period.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) calculated that the total income received from December 2013 to March 2017 was R2.9bn. This means that 74% of that was being paid to the foreign company.
“At an average of R55m per month paid to ETC, and with the current e-toll income levels at around R63m per month, virtually no money is going toward the e-toll bonds,
“This is clearly a problem for Sanral and explains why their bond auctions are not attracting any investors, pushing this state-owned entity to the brink of financial failure,” OUTA said in a statement.
Maswanganyi also revealed in a parliamentary response in June that only 29% of the invoices issued in the last 24 months had been paid.
“Our assessment of Sanral’s latest reporting indicates they are not accounting for e-toll revenues billed at the punitive tariffs, but instead are reflecting their invoicing and outstanding revenues at the discounted e-tag rates,” OUTA chairperson Wayne Duvenage said on Monday.
— Rolf Endres (@Rolf_Endres) July 11, 2017
OUTA and Sanral are involved in a test case over the e-toll system.
Meanwhile, Vusi Mona, the general manager of communications at Sanral said if Sanral fails as a result of the e-toll boycott, the country’s economy will be in a worse position.
Mona said the road infrastructure maintained by Sanral carries the bulk of freight traffic in the country and services its citizens. If Sanral fails, the economy will become worse.