The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says it has sold 960,000 e-tags for its controversial e-tolling system in Gauteng, one month after its launch.
The figures quoted by Sanral in the past have been disputed by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).
In mid December, Outa’s chairman Wayne Duvenage accused Sanral of inflating its e-tag sales to more than double their actual number.
“Based on a statistically sound sample size, Outa’s research shows that only 15 percent of freeway users are tagged and nine percent of vehicles counted off the freeway were tagged,” Duvenage said in a statement.
“Obviously, it is the freeway-user count that matters in this exercise, but the off-freeway count helps to corroborate our findings.”
At the time, Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said that 890,388 VLN/e-tags had been sold.
Outa’s research showed, of a sample of 2,098 cars which used the freeway, only 317 had e-tags which equated to about 15.1%.
Of a sample of 2,236 cars which did not use the freeways, 212 had e-tags, which meant a figure of around 9.5%.
Applying the sample to the total number of cars which used Gauteng’s freeways every month, being around 2.3 million cars, Outa estimated that the number of e-tags sold was closer to 350,000.
“Even if one pushed the e-tag penetration rate to 20%, the number of e-tags in use will be no more than 450,000,” Duvenage said.
“Which is around half the number of tags sales recently espoused by Sanral.”
E-tolling has already come under fire with people complaining about incorrect e-toll bills being sent to them via e-mail and SMS.
Many users reported that they received very high bills when they only used the toll roads once or twice. Others reported that they received e-toll bills without ever using Gauteng’s roads.
Last week Beeld reported that a man who has been dead since October 2012 received an SMS warning that he had overdue e-toll fees of R612.21.
Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona told Jacaranda FM that Sanral, being a state entity, is entitled to obtain information including a mobile phone number to contact the public regarding collection.
He urged people to register for the system so as to be up to date on the correct amount owed, rather than wait for an invoice from Sanral.
“The obligation to pay arises as soon as you go under the gantries. There are notices on the highway telling you exactly how much you’re supposed to be paying,” Mona told Eye Witness News.
The e-tolling system was launched in Guateng on 3 December 2013, with a second phase covering at least 300km of the province’s highways in the pipeline.