Sanral white powder harmless: ETC

Pretoria - A white powder found in the mailbox at Sanral's headquarters in Centurion on Friday was not dangerous, Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) said.

“Response management has been optimised and we can confirm that the substance has been tested and it has been concluded that it is not harmful,” ETC CEO Jamie Surkont said.

Toll roads in Gauteng are monitored at a Sanral control centre. File picture: Oupa Mokoena. Credit: Independent Newspapers

He said the building was evacuated as a precautionary measure. It was not known what the power was. It was found in the mailbox at the office.

This was the second such incident this week. On Tuesday Sanral's operations centre in Pretoria was evacuated when white powder was found in an envelope, disrupting the operation of the Gauteng highway tolling system.

“We have adapted our safety and mail management protocols since the incident we experienced on Tuesday and this has resulted in only two people being exposed to the substance and having to be quarantined,” Surkont said on Friday.

Services remained available for motorists to register and manage their accounts through the website and customer service centres. Sanral said only its call centre services were affected.

The Tshwane hazardous material unit was called to the centre on Tuesday afternoon after a “suspicious envelope containing a white substance” was found on the premises. This resulted in the shutdown of electricity and the evacuation of the building.

Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said it was “tantamount to sabotage and borders on a very serious crime”.

On Wednesday, Sanral said the substance found in the envelope was not dangerous, but did not elaborate.

Thirty-seven people were decontaminated and hospitalised as a precaution. All of them had been discharged by Wednesday morning.

At the time, CEO Nazir Alli said the evacuation did not compromise the toll collection process and that the toll gantries remained operational.