Johannesburg – Sanral has to pay the company implementing e-tolling around R25 million a month, even though e-tolling has not yet begun.
At a media briefing on Thursday, Sanral communications manager Vusi Mona and Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) manager Alex van Niekerk explained the agency’s financial situation.
Van Niekerk said Sanral was ready to go ahead with e-tolling and was waiting for President Jacob Zuma to sign the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill.
It has been more than two years since e-tolling was first expected to begin in Gauteng. Mona said the agency was cautious about estimating timeliness.
Van Niekerk said that at present they were in a “soft-tolling phase”, which meant that the system was live-testing, but was just waiting for the go-ahead from the president to start sending out invoices.
The project manager said they were paying the contractor – Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) – around R25m a month for services such as maintenance of the system, building costs, taxes, banking fees and employee salaries.
He would not say what the company would receive once e-tolling went live, saying this depended on how many motorists bought e-tags and paid their tolls.
Van Niekerk said they had costed in both extremes – the first is that the project will be smooth sailing and everyone gets an e-tag, and the second is that people do not co-operate and there will be postage, call and debt collection fees.
He said they were ready administratively for both situations. “We have planned to handle the volumes,” Van Niekerk said.
Because e-tolling has been delayed, Sanral has not been able to raise bonds on the open market.