This file photo shows an e-tolling operation centre in Midrand, where cars passing beneath the gantries are recorded. Image: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - Gauteng motorists have racked up more than half a billion rand in overdue fees since the province's e-tolling system started on December 3 last year, according to Transport Minister Dipuo Peters. Less than 10 percent of this has been paid.

“I am informed that... as at March 1 this year an amount of R543 544 574 worth of invoices were transferred to the VPC (Violations Processing Centre),” she said in written reply to a parliamentary question.

The VPC is the debt-collection division within the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), responsible for the collection and processing of overdue e-toll transactions.

Contacted for comment on Wednesday, Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said the R543.5 million included both those motorists with e-tags who had overdue accounts, as well as those who had not registered but were picked up by the tolling system.

“It is those people who have amounts outstanding, whether registered or not,” he said.

Mona could not immediately say what percentage of Gauteng motorists had registered to date.

In her response to the parliamentary question - posed by Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis - Peters also revealed that “an amount of R54 735 638 (excluding VAT) has been expended in the collection of the debt”.

This figure included R32.8m “for postage and printing of invoices” and a further R21.9m for “the cost of debt collection processes”.

However, responding to a second parliamentary question, Peters said of the total of R543.5m transferred to the VPC, only R50 043 487, or 9.21 percent, had been paid as at February 28.