Tender is more than just e-tolls
MORE: SANRAL’S VALUE-ADDED SERVICES IN THE MIX
Road agency toll manager also resigns.
Only part of the tender issued by the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) – for the management of its openroad tolling system in Gauteng, national transaction clearing house and violations processing centre – relates to e-tolls on the Gauteng freeway improvement project (GFIP).
Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona stressed that Sanral has to continue with its operations and be ready for any instruction it receives from the department of transport related to the future of e-tolls.
Mona was responding to a request for comment on several claims made by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).
These claims include that for Sanral to enter into any e-toll-related contract makes no sense, when the country is waiting for Cabinet’s decision on the future of e-tolls.
Also, it makes no financial sense because the cheapest bid submitted works out to an average of almost double the collection rate mentioned in Sanral’s 2019 annual report before any money is allocated to Sanral bonds.
Outa’s statement followed Sanral’s confirmation on Monday that it is evaluating tenders it received for the continued management of e-tolls after its existing contract with Electronic Tolling Collections expires on December 2.
Mona said the tender issued is scalable and, among other things, for the operation of all services relating to the transaction clearing house, including electronic toll transactions at conventional toll plazas and a suite of value-added services, such as parking payments.
Moneyweb reported in October that Sanral was in the process of repackaging and expanding the function of its transaction clearing house to provide a host of other mobility services.
The transaction clearing house is currently almost exclusively used for clearing e-toll collections for various toll operators and toll plazas.
Alex van Niekerk, planning, transportation and toll manager for Sanral, said at the time the initiative will result in the e-toll account becoming a mobility account that could, for instance, be used for vehicle licence renewal payments, cashless parking, fuel payments and to use Sanral’s customer service centres for driving licence renewals.
Sanral reported on Wednesday that Van Niekerk had resigned, effective from February 28, to pursue another career opportunity.
Despite testing times for the GFIP scheme, Van Niekerk remained committed to what is essentially government policy and executed his responsibilities to the best of his ability, Sanral said.
Outa said three companies had submitted bids in response to the tender. They are Phambili Joint venture, Kusa Kokutsha and SAeTO, it said.
Outa said Kusa Kokutsha was only registered as a business on August 26, appears to have been set up specifically to bid for the Sanral contract and, through its directors, is linked to outgoing contractor Electronic Tolling Collections.
Mona said it is standard practice during a tender process, especially for large diverse tenders, that companies create a joint venture, or form a special company to meet all the requirements.
He said an open tender process is followed and any company could tender.
“While the tender process is still under way Sanral cannot comment on the way in which Kusa Kokutsha is constituted.
“However, Electronic Tolling Collections was a special-purpose vehicle and could therefore not tender in its current form,” he said.
IN THE AIR. The controversial Gauteng freeway e-tolling system is part of a bigger contract and, if scrapped, would no longer be part of the winning bidder’s agreement.