ETC gets 74% of e-toll income – Outa
E-TOLL collection company ETC was paid 74 percent of the e-toll income received from motorists since the inception of the system on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) in December 2013, says the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).
Wayne Duvenage, the chairman of the organisation, said this deduction was based on the recent update and explanation on e-toll payments provided by Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi to Parliament last week.
Duvenage said their analysis showed that R2.2 billion of the R2.9bn of the e-toll income received from motorists since December 2013 had been paid to ETC. He said this was a clear indication of how irrational the scheme had become and to make matters worse compliance levels continued to decline year-on-year.
Duvenage added that with an average of R55 million a month paid to ETC and current e-toll income levels at about R63m a month, virtually no money was going towards the e-toll bonds.
“This is clearly a problemfor Sanral (SA National Roads Agency) and explains why their bond auctions are not attracting any investors, pushing this state-owned entity to the brink of financial failure,” he said.
Maswanganyi, in response to a question in Parliament from DA spokesperson on finance David Ross, said the compliance rate in February was 29 percent.
But Maswanganyi said the value of the outstanding debt could not be disclosed because year-end processes and audits still had to be concluded.
Maswanganyi said this would be available once the auditor-general had concluded the audit on July 31.
But Maswanganyi said the audited results at end-March last year reflected the outstanding value of trade receivables, which would be for unregistered users, as R7.2bn.
Duvenage added that their assessment of Sanral’s latest reporting indicated they were not accounting for e-toll revenues billed at the punitive tariffs, but were instead reflecting their invoicing and outstanding revenues at the discounted e-tag rates.
This suggested that Sanral wanted to reflect their outstanding debt as low as possible, despite the fact that the agency was reflecting outstanding debt to the unregistered road user at the higher punitive tariff.
But Duvenage claimed Sanral would still be owed about R9.2bn at end-March 2017, despite reflecting their outstanding debt at the discounted value. He added that Outa believed that Sanral would not be able to collect a meaningful portion of this outstanding debt regardless of the outcome of the pending litigation.
He said the e-toll litigation process was in full swing and Outa had filed its papers in response to Sanral’s declarations against its members.
“These cases will be ventilated in both the high court and magistrate’s court in the latter part of the year. In all instances, there is a constitutional element to each case, along with the technical elements that will be argued.
“We believe the courts will not want to be clogged up with numerous cases and that a few cases will first be tested in court to establish the way forward for the e-toll debacle. We believe our cases are all extremely strong,” he said.
Duvenage said apart from the tough challenge Sanral would face in defending the lawfulness of the e-toll decision on constitutional grounds, Outa had also uncovered many billing errors and process failures within the scheme.
Fred Nel, the DA’s Gauteng spokesman for roads and transport, said the e-toll payment rate data provided by the transport minister painted a vivid picture of the people’s rejection of a system the ANC government imposed on them.
Cars approach the Blouvalk e-toll gantry on the N1 western bypass between the William Nicol and Rivonia off-ramps. Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage says Outa’s figures show the irrationality of the e-toll scheme.