File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu / Independent Media.
Johannesburg - Foreign companies that procure e-tags for the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) have pocketed a massive R225 million from the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

This is in addition to R327m that has been paid for the printing of invoices and the posting for e-toll collections.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi revealed this in a written parliamentary question from the DA’s Christine Hunsinger on Monday.

Maswanganyi said the Austrian company Kapsch Trafficom AB had received R167 220 930 for the provision and maintenance of e-tags to South Africa.

He also said Q-Free ASA, from Norway, had pocketed R58 317 748 for rendering the same service.

“The above parties were contracted for the supply and maintenance of e-tags in accordance with Sanral specifications and in accordance with the required specifications of an international CEN-278 standard.

“The e-tags were procured in batches in accordance with demand in terms of the e-toll registration for the GFIP project, and for the conventional toll plazas countrywide,” Maswanganyi said.

He said that between December 2013 and December 2014, R124m was paid towards invoice printing and posting for e-toll collections.

In the period between January and December 2015, a further R58m was paid, while R112m was paid between January and December 2016.

A total of R32m was paid between January and May this year, Maswanganyi added.

Summonses served on motorists

The money spent on the foreign companies and e-tags comes against the backdrop of Sanral battling to pay off the R20 billion it cost to erect the e-tolls in Gauteng.

As fewer motorists pay their e-tolls bills, R2.9bn in e-toll income was received from motorists as at March 2017 since the e-tolls were introduced in 2013.

As if that is not enough, the civil society group Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse is waging litigation on behalf of its members in response to the summonses Sanral has served on its members.

Last month, Maswanganyi said Sanral was empowered to recover outstanding debt from users who traverse the GFIP network.

He said the recovery of outstanding bills was based on the “user pays principle” irrespective of whether the user was registered.

“Such a recovery process will be embarked upon once all the prescribed legal processes have been followed.

“The owner of a vehicle that passes under a gantry on the GFIP toll roads is liable to pay tolls to Sanral,” the minister said.

Maswanganyi added that individuals and companies would be taken to court, based on the merit of the particular case.

Fewer car owners pay their e-tolls, which in turn overburdens Sanral.

The Star

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