Ten­der is more than just e-tolls

MORE: SANRAL’S VALUE-ADDED SER­VICES IN THE MIX

The Citizen (KZN) - - Front Page - Roy Cokayne

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.

Ex­panded scope

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.

Res­ig­na­tion

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.

Stan­dard prac­tice

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.

Pic­ture: Money­web

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.

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