R327 million: the insane cost to print and post e-toll invoices since launch

Transport minister Joe Maswanganyi has revealed that the printing and posting of invoices for the failed e-toll system in Gauteng has cost a staggering R327 million since the project’s launch in December 2013.

The minister was responding to a written parliamentary question from the Democratic Alliance earlier this week.

News24 reported that two international firms – Kapsch TrafficCom AB from Sweden and Q-Free ASA from Norway – had received in excess of R550 million for providing e-tags  for the project, and for the printing of invoices and the posting for e-toll collections.

Kapsch, which won a R6.2 billion tender from roads agency Sanral for the design and operation of the e-toll system in Gauteng in 2010 – received R167 million for the provision and maintenance of e-tags, while Q-Free ASA received R58 million for the same service.

Sanral told Fin24 that the amounts paid to the two companies are exclusive of value-added tax (VAT), as it is claimed back by the companies.

The roads agency also reportedly forked out R327.2 million in invoice printing and posting costs over the same period, which  also exclusive of VAT.

Read: E-tolls will be reviewed…again

Over the first year of operation Sanral paid R124 million for this particular service, dropping to R58 million between January and December 2015, and climbing to R112 million in 2016. The figure between January and May of 2017 stood at R32 million, the mister’s written reply stated.

In June Maswanganyi revealed that Sanral had collected R2.9 billion in e-toll fees since the system’s inception.

Lobby group Outa said that its calculations showed that the Austrian-owned toll collection company, ETC, has pocketed R2.2 billion of that amount – 74%. However, Sanral rubbished the claims.

Also in June, a response to a Parliamentary question revealed that only 30% of invoices generated to motorists who use Gauteng’s toll roads had been paid over a 24-month period.

In a response to a question asked by the DA’s David Ross, the Department of Transport set out the number of invoices that were sent out from April 2015 until March 2017.

Of the more than 1.8 billion invoices that were issued in the past 24 months, more than 1.3 billion (more than 71%) were unpaid.

Read: E-toll shocker: 1.3 billion unpaid bills over the past 24 months

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R327 million: the insane cost to print and post e-toll invoices since launch