An e-toll gantry on the N1 highway. File photo: Thobile Mathonsi / INLSA

PRETORIA – Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), which in 2009 was awarded the original contract by the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), would continue to manage e-tolling until at least December 2 next year.

ETC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Austrian-based Kapsch Group, confirmed this yesterday in a statement about setting “the record straight” on the renewal of the e-tolling contract.

It said the full operations portion of the contract it was awarded by Sanral on September 18, 2009, included Open Road Tolling (ORT) services for a period of eight years plus five-year contracts each from the commencement of tolling for the Violations Processing Centre (VPC) and the Transaction Clearing House (TCH).

ETC added that a sub-clause of the special provisions in the full works contract stated that Sanral, as the employer, “shall have the option to extend the operation service period in respect of TCH and VPC for a further period of 12 months”.

However, ETC said these contractual terms were amended through an amicable settlement signed by ETC and Sanral on April 3 last year, “such that it shall be six years for the full works (for the avoidance of doubt, the operation service period for the ORT, TCH and VPC shall end on December 2, 2019)”.

ETC said it was further agreed that Sanral “shall have the option, on written notice to the contractor (ETC) prior to the expiry of the operation service period, to extend the contract for a further period of 12 or 24 months".

It stressed that the ORT, TCH and VPC were, therefore, now all one six-year contract, with the option to extend it for another one or two years.

ETC said the settlement was approved by the Treasury, based on the fact that Sanral would not have spent the entire contract value by the end of the maximum two-year extension.

Coenie Vermaak, the chief executive of ETC, told a transport forum last week that the non-compliance of motorists in paying their e-tolls had resulted in the R22 billion originally invested in the GFIP ballooning to R40.5bn because of interest on the debt.

BUSINESS REPORT