R381 million to track down e-toll transgressors?

South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) will spend R473.2 million on communications with e-toll account holders and transgressors, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said in a statement issued on Monday (26 August 2013).

This figure comes from an analysis of the contract between Sanral and the Electronic Toll Collections (ETC) joint venture, the DA said.

The total cost of communications for the Transaction Clearance House (TCH), responsible for the hosting and accuracy of all e-toll accounts is R92.6 million, while the cost of communications for the Violations Processing Centre (VPC), facilitating and ensuring recovering of e-toll fees owed, is R380.6 million.

“The DA believes that the provisional costs of communication add to growing proof of how expensive it will be to operate e-tolls in Gauteng,” said Ian Ollis, DA shadow minister of transport.

Ollis said that the increased spending by the Violations Processing Centre forewarns of the struggle to track down transgressors and will result in both increased operating costs and less fees recovered.

“Increased costs in operating e-tolls and fewer fees recovered means less money is reinvested into Gauteng roads,” he said.

According to the DA, the TCH cost breakdown shows:

  • R20 million for SMS services;
  • R600 000 for emails;
  • R40 million for calls to cellular phones;
  • R25 million for calls to landlines;
  • R4 million for faxes; and
  • R3 million for letters.

While the VPC cost breakdown shows:

  • R80 million for SMS services;
  • R600 000 for emails;
  • R175 million for calls to cellular phones;
  • R100 million for calls to landlines;
  • R15 million for faxes; and
  • R10 million for letters.

The DA said that it has received the three documents originally omitted from the contract documentation it requested from Sanral.

This means that the DA is now in possession of the full contract, and it said that it is able to study it in its entirety and will continue to scrutinise the documents.

“We will continue to search for Sanral’s financial obligations to ETC, how transgressors will be prosecuted and what options are available to stop the e-tolls and will reveal our findings at a later stage during a Press Conference,” Ollis said.

“We are confident that our findings on the e-toll contract will show that e-tolling does not work,” he said.

Last week, the DA also noted that Sanral would continue spending millions on advertising for its e-tolling system.

Sanral’s GM of Communication, Vusi Mona broke down the group’s advertising spend since 2009/08:

  • 2008/09: R8,269,772. In that year, Sanral did not have a separate budget for its toll portfolio.”
  • 2009/10: Sanral spent R6,432,337 on its toll portfolio and R14,835,731 on its non-toll portfolio
  • 2010/11: Sanral spent R7,156,311 on its toll portfolio and R23,248,325 on its non-toll portfolio
  • 2011/12: Sanral spent R54,040,275 on its toll portfolio and R30,466,863 on its non-toll portfolio
  • 2012/13: Sanral spent R74,498,041 on its toll portfolio and R12,633,674 on oits non-toll portfolio

Mona said: “In the current financial year (with a budget R85 million) we have so far spent R23,257,989 on our toll portfolio and R1,805,627 on our non-toll portfolio.”

The communications lead said noted that the group’s toll portfolio spans more than the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project which is only 201km. Sanral has a toll portfolio of 1,832km.

More on Sanral and e-tolls

Sanral’s e-toll advertising budget soars

Sanral seeks R1.48 billion from banks

Sanral: we aren’t broke

Cash-strapped Sanral a red herring?

 E-toll “propaganda” costing Sanral millions: DA

Sanral: e-toll revenue taxed before going offshore

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R381 million to track down e-toll transgressors?