Sanral’s General Manager for Communications Vusi Mona says for every rand collected through e-tolling on the Gauteng road network, only 17c goes towards the cost of managing the toll operation and collecting tolls.
The remaining 83 cents goes to a variety of needs linked to the road including servicing the loan incurred in order to complete the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), Mona said.
“The 17c covers all the costs associated with collecting tolls including salaries, bank transaction costs, toll infrastructure maintenance costs, telecommunications costs, postage costs, municipal rates and taxes, incurred by ETC-the South African firm appointed by SANRAL to manage e-tolling. This reflects the payment that the toll operator receives in terms of tendered rates,” Mona said.
He said that the rest of the revenue is used for repaying the initial capital cost of the road upgrades, road maintenance including periodic maintenance, interest payable on debt and other operational costs related to overhead lighting, Intelligent Transport Systems and Incident Management Services.
In addition to this, there are other costs related to the violation processing. However, these costs are self-funding through the higher toll tariffs applicable to violators.
SANRAL’s statement follows the myth propagated by those who oppose open road tolling that the cost of collection was too high and that the money paid by South Africans will go Kapsch, a Swedish based company.
“All the money paid by road users will go into the SANRAL account. SANRAL has an ad-measure contract with ETC which designed, built and will now operate tolling on behalf of SANRAL. The contract stipulates that ETC will be paid for actual services rendered – not a retainer or a fixed contract fee,” Mona said.
Having an ad-measure contract means that ETC is paid for services on a monthly basis and the payment is strictly according to a bill of quantities as specified in the tender contract. Only dividends declared may be paid to the foreign companies involved – that is, after tax is paid in South Africa. In addition to this, the Reserve Bank has to be satisfied that all foreign currency control regulations have been met. The payment is in Rand and is therefore not subject to currency fluctuations.
It is total disinformation to convert a statement made by Kapsch, in which they refer to revenue that they expect from the GFIP, to imply that the company is referring to profit. Revenue refers to total turnover before cost.
“The argument that money will go overseas is therefore simplistic and misinformed. If we add the normal internal administrative costs, payment to service providers, plus salaries, then you would understand that if ETC declare a profit – if it makes one – only at that stage does it send it to its foreign partners,” Mona added.
ETC is a joint venture which consists 65% of the traffic technology company Kapsch while the South African Traffic Management Technologies (TMT) holds a further 35%. The company put in a winning bid for the GFIP tender, beating three competitors. It offered a competitive tender that was over R2 billion lower than the subsequent one.
“We must also not conveniently forget, almost the entire ETC workforce is South African and local service providers are used,” concluded Mona.