Tag: Sanral

It is estimated that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has spent approximately R5.3-billion trying to recover e-tolls from motorists who are unwilling and unlikely to pay.

This is according to an analysis from the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).

  • Sanral has spent almost half the amount of money as it was trying to collect
  • According to its financials, it spent R508 million on collecting e-tolls, which brought in over R660 million in revenue
  • OUTA has estimated that it has cost the roads agency around R5.3 billion to operate the e-toll system
  • Sanral’s financial statements show that it only hoped to collect around R10.5 billion from e-tolls since 2014
  • Sanral didn’t recognise 50% or more of the e-toll bills it sent out every year as potential revenue
  • Sanral effectively wrote off over R17 billion in e-toll revenue
  • Of the amounts owing to Sanral for e-tolls, the roads agency only recognised around R9.8 billion in its most recent financial results as debt owed by motorists
  • It is not known exactly how much Sanral pays for its contract with the Electronic Toll Collections (ETC) company, nor what its other administration costs for the e-toll system is

By Hanno Labuschagne for MyBroadband

The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) has lambasted renewed claims from SANRAL that the non-payment of e-tolls would result in motorists being unable to renew their vehicle licence discs.

“The South African National Roads Agency Limited’s (SANRAL) insistence at the weekend that the non-payment of e-tolls will result in motorists being unable to renew vehicle licence discs is outrageous, dishonest and irregular,” the association stated.

The AAA was responding to a report in the City Press, in which the newspaper cited a section on the SANRAL website pertaining to outstanding toll fees which had to be settled before the renewal of a vehicle licence disc:

The non-payment of toll may result in road users not being issued with their vehicle license disc, upon renewal of the vehicle license. Road users will be able to renew licences, but the disc itself will be withheld until the outstanding toll related infringements have been settled.

The AA said the inclusion on SANRAL’s website was not new, but it remains up and is referenced by SANRAL as its position on non-payment of tolls despite the fact that government still has to pronounce on the future of e-tolls in Gauteng.

“This paragraph gives the impression that the issue of e-tolls is finalised when, in fact, it is still very much in the air,” the AA said.

“By suggesting through this wording on their website – and alluding to such in interviews – that this is a done deal, SANRAL is again demonstrating how desperate it is to coerce the public into paying for something they have taken a principled stand against paying,” the AA stated.

The AA said that the resurfacing of this issue again raised questions about how SANRAL interacts with the public, apparently preferring a heavy-handed approach to one genuinely interested in resolving the issue through the proper channels.

In addition, any efforts at debt collection contradict SANRAL’s earlier position that it was suspending efforts to pursue outstanding debt until a resolution on the future of e-tolls is announced.

Pre-empting the Minister
The AA said that the way forward on e-tolls was still the subject of consultations between the AA, various organisations, and the Minister of Transport.

It was thus gravely concerned that SANRAL perpetuated misinformation about tolls and discs while the Ministry was yet to pronounce on the matter.

“A resolution to the e-toll issue, specifically that relating to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), was to be given at the end of April last year,” the AA said.

“That was postponed with the end of March this year now being tabled as the date on which an announcement regarding the future of e-tolls will be made,” the AA stated.

The AA said it appeared that SANRAL was attempting to pre-empt any announcement by the Minister on his decision regarding the future of e-tolls, and impose its own regulations on the public, completely ignoring the other process.

According to the Association, research provided by the Ministry of Transport conducted among Gauteng motorists found that “no amount of cajoling or threats of legal action would convince the more than 80% of non-payers to change their minds”.

“The evidence is quite clear and irrefutable: motorists have taken a principled stand against e-tolls, and they simply won’t pay outstanding, current or future fees. They have wholly rejected e-tolls and will not participate in any collection scheme,” the Association said.

The AA repeated its previous calls to SANRAL to adopt a more consultative, approachable stance towards motorists in Gauteng, rather than attempt to bully them into compliance.

“Letters of demand, ultimatums, pronouncements out of turn, and other legal threats such as listing at credit agencies are alienating the public; their actions are arrogant, misguided, and unfortunate, and will not solve any problems,” the Association said.

 

Sanral cancels e-tolls tender

By Roy Cokayne for Moneyweb

The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has cancelled the tender it issued in August last year for the continued management of e-tolls and claims it has not been informed of any decision by the government on the future of e-tolls on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

Sanral has also confirmed that it intends to reissue the tender.

Vusi Mona, general manager of communications at Sanral, confirmed on Friday that Sanral’s board had decided to cancel the tender and stressed that Sanral has not been informed of any decision in regard to the future of e-tolls.

“The board’s decision to cancel the tender was informed by a review of the assurance documents from Sanral’s legal and internal audit departments, as well as expert advice provided by the independent advisor to the board’s audit and risk committee.”

The cancellation of the tender, which was in the process of being adjudicated, follows Sanral confirming on March 12 that its contract with Electronic Tolling Collections (ETC) for the management of e-tolls on the GFIP had been extended until December 2020.

One of the reasons cited by Sanral for that extension was to allow for the tender process to be concluded.

ETC’s contract was also extended for three months in December last year, with this extension expiring at the beginning of this month.

Mona said the current ETC contract allowed for an up to 24-month extension.

“In December 2019, Sanral extended the ETC contract for three months to finalise the tender process.

“The Sanral board then took the decision to cancel the tender. Based on this decision, the current ETC contract was extended for a further nine months to allow for completion of the retendering process.

“The tenderers were also informed of the cancellation,” he said.

‘Smoke and ambiguity’

On the weekend, Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) CEO Wayne Duvenage described the cancellation of the tender as “lots of smoke, lots of ambiguity and a lack of clarity,” adding that “nothing makes sense”.

He said it seemed that an announcement on the future of e-tolls was imminent last week, before the government’s announcement on Covid-19.

“Obviously with the virus, it has been put off and I think there are more important things to deal with right now.

“So it is again a case of wait-and-see and kicking the can down the road some more, with compliance continuing to drop,” he said.

Paying motorists getting frustrated

Duvenage believes people who are paying their e-tolls are getting frustrated with the fact that only one in five are paying their e-tolls and he called on them to stop paying.

“That will end it sooner [rather] than later,” he said.

Duvenage believes Sanral has scrapped the tender process more out of a decision to wait and see what government is going to do about e-tolls.

“These are all indications that the end is nigh. If the government is going to carry on with e-tolls, Sanral has another nine months to retender.”

The problem is that Sanral cannot enforce compliance anymore, adds Duvenage.

“They have stopped summoning for over a year; the test case is in the balance and by putting that test case on hold, they have effectively done a lot of damage to the strength of their case,” he said.

Moneyweb reported last year that Duvenage claimed Kusa Kokutsha, which submitted a bid of R7.548 billion for the tender, was allegedly only registered as a business days after the tender was first advertised and appeared to have been set up specifically to bid for the Sanral contract.

The other two bidders, according to Outa, were Phambili joint venture (JV) and SAeTO.

It said Phambili JV submitted a bid of R11.399 billion while SAeTO did not list a bid amount.

Duvenage added at the time that the date on which Kusa Kokutsha was registered indicated that it did not have a track record as a business and, through its directors, is linked to outgoing contractor ETC.

“Thus this appears to be ETC in a new guise,” he said.

Douglas Davey, ETC board chair, subsequently confirmed that ETC did not submit a bid for the tender because it is a special purpose vehicle and was therefore established only to manage and operate the Gauteng tolling system.

However, Davey said Kusa Kokutsha, in which TMT Services and Supplies has a 44% shareholding and KapschTrafficCom AG a 5% stake, did submit a bid.

The majority shareholder in Kusa Kokutsha is a staff trust, with a 51% stake in the company.

ETC’s original shareholders were TMT and Austria-based Kapsch TrafficCom AG.

Only part of the tender Sanral issued for an open road tolling system in Gauteng – a national Transaction Clearing House (TCH) and violations processing centre – relates to e-tolls on the GFIP.

The TCH is currently almost exclusively used for clearing e-toll collections for various toll operators and toll plazas but Sanral confirmed that it is in the process of repackaging and expanding the function of its TCH to provide a host of other mobility services, such as vehicle licence renewal payments, cashless parking, fuel payments and to use Sanral’s customer service centres for driving licence renewals.

Sanral suspends e-toll debt collection

Source: News24

The South African National Roads Agency has announced that it is suspending the process of pursuing e-toll debt.

This after Sanral’s board passed an urgent resolution on the matter on Tuesday.

“It resolved that given the initiative led by President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the e-tolls payment impasse, Sanral will, with immediate effect, suspend the process of pursuing e-toll debt. This includes historic debt and summonses applied for from 2015. No new summonses will be applied for,” Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Sanral says the decision will be constantly monitored by the board and reviewed according to prevailing circumstances.

Netwerk24 had reported earlier this month that only 26 motorists had received default judgments so far for not paying their e-toll bills.

Mona told the News24 sister site that motorists owe Sanral more than R10.9-billion in unpaid e-toll money.

R5.7bn bailout for e-tolls

By Tom Head for The South African

Gauteng motorists, we’ve got some bad news: e-tolls have been given the kiss of life by the government, who have promised to cover Sanral’s debts.

When the people talk, politicians should listen. However, it would seem there have been some spectacular crossed wires in Gauteng. The much-maligned and financially crippled e-tolls system will now live to fight another day, after Transport Minister Blade Nzimande confirmed Sanral would receive a R5.7 billion bailout.

The roads agency have been plunged into fiscal despair by the ill-conceived tolls, which have failed to bring in the revenue previously forecast. It has left Sanral with debts soaring above R10 billion, but thanks to the deep pockets of the ANC, their money woes have effectively been halved.

Why Sanral have been bailed out
Nzimande explained the decision via a statement on Monday afternoon. He says the bailout is to help ensure that the department can meet “payment terms” with its investors. The move was labelled as a “strategic intervention” to help prop-up the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

“As a result of Sanral’s toll network experiencing financial difficulties, and to ensure that Sanral complies to its payment terms to investors, as well as to maintain the toll network across the country, funds were transferred from the non-toll network to the toll network. However, the department is working to resolve the issue of the GFIP speedily.”

E-tolls: Where is the money coming from?
The money has been taken from the Medium-term budget appropriation. It’s important to note that this money was not taken from the Treasury. Instead, money that was set aside for mid-term spending back in October 2018 will now go towards the e-tolls system, which continues to fail upwards.

Despite several promises from local government – including Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who vowed to rid the system from the province – it seems that national structures of the ANC have had the final word.

 

First e-toll case heads to court

Source: MyBroadband, Netwerk24 

According to a report by Netwerk24, the first e-toll test case will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The report states that the test case will involve the transport company Thandanani Packers & Hauliers, which owes R400 000 in e-toll bills.

The company has stated that it cannot afford e-tolls, and if they were forced to pay this money the business will need to close.

Outa said the case will focus on the overall legality of the e-tolls system and will be used for the main dispute of the overall “legality challenges” to the e-tolls system itself.

The legal team for the supporters of Outa wanted Sanral to suspend enforcement of all other e-toll legal claims against motorists, but Sanral’s team would not agree to this.

“Sanral’s lawyers said a general stay could not be agreed whilst road users were being encouraged not to pay e-tolls,” Outa said.

Sanral added that it would continue to issue a significant number of summonses and proceed with e-toll claims.

Peak traffic is getting worse

South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says that the growth in traffic demand in Johannesburg is resulting in the peak periods being extended by as much as 15 minutes each year.

Communications lead at Sanral, Vusi Mona, told Engineering News that Gauteng’s freeway toll network is nearly at capacity.

He said that the morning peak period is between 06h00 and 09h00, with the afternoon stretch at between 15h00 and 18h00, adding that there is little traffic reduction in between those peak periods.

“During the peak periods, many of the freeway sections carrying the peak direction demands are running at capacity – actually over the design capacity,” he said.

He cited the busiest section of the Gauteng open-road tolling (GORT) as being between the Buccleuch and Allandale interchanges, in Midrand, with peak volume reaching up to 11,000 vehicles each hour in each direction.

According to Engineering News, this section of road has seen volumes increase by nearly 100% since 2006, while upgrades to the Gauteng freeway network only allows for a 4.7% increase in yearly traffic since 2010.

Mona said he expects that peak periods will increase due to urbanisation. It has been reported that the population of Johannesburg grows by about 10,000 people per month – or 120,000 annually.

The stretch between the Buccleuch and Allandale interchanges could swell to 285,000 vehicles per day as early as 2020, with the highest volumes measured currently, at 283,000 vehicles.

“Essentially the average travel time could increase by ten minutes between now and 2020, but will increase exponentially from then onwards,” Mona told Engineering News.

Source: BusinessTech

The South African Roads Agency (Sanral) has begun serving members of the public with letters of demand for outstanding debt on e-tolls.

However, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says “letters of final demand” should not be confused with a summons, as it is a low commitment step that does not officially initiate legal proceedings.

Last month, Sanral said e-toll defaulters may start receiving civil summonses from sheriffs in different jurisdictions in Gauteng.

Electronic Toll Collection, the company responsible for collecting e-toll payments, has also warned motorists not complying with the system should expect “intensified collection activity”.

Outa points out Sanral’s past behaviour and processes have laid the ground for a very strong defence in the form of a collateral challenge against the roads agency, if and when a summons arises for non-payment of e-tolls.

“For instance, we have examples of motorists who have previously been compliant and eventually gave up due to the scheme’s failure to account for and manage their queries and billing errors raised on their invoices,” says Wayne Duvenage, Outa chairman.

“Others have never received invoices in accordance with the scheme’s rules, while in other cases, incorrect bills were not removed from their accounts due to a cumbersome and ineffective dispute resolution mechanism.”

Outa points out that “for motorists that have entered into an agreement with Sanral to pay e-tolls under duress, and who remain ‘indebted’ to Sanral, the case could very well revolve around the validity of the agreement.

“We are aware of many motorists who signed up for the scheme out of fear of being prosecuted, not knowing that significant and valid questions surround the lawfulness of the scheme’s introduction, or that Sanral had not ensured their equipment was certified in accordance with the Legal Metrology Act, or that the Department of Transport would change their minds and not pursue their incessant threats of criminal charges against e-toll defaulters, seven months after the scheme was launched.”

According to Outa, the public discontent with the e-toll scheme and Sanral’s threatening approach towards their justified defiance becomes more widespread every day.

“It is unfortunate that despite the continued low compliance levels, government persists in trying to force its failed scheme onto an unwilling public, whose resistance has remained strong throughout the debacle. The showdown between the state and the people on the e-toll matter will continue to intensify until Sanral and their bosses eventually realise the public will not bow down to their pressure.”

Source: www.itweb.co.za

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) is making an all-out effort to collect as much outstanding e-toll debt as possible ahead of its meeting in May with Moody’s Investors Services.

Sanral, which is responsible for the maintenance and construction of national roads, will be assessed by Moody’s over the next few months along with SA as a country, a number of other state-owned companies and government structures.

The ratings agency’s investigation kicked off earlier this month with a meeting with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Treasury officials.

The agency put Sanral’s rating on review for a downgrade earlier this month, along with SA’s own rating. Moody’s had downgraded Sanral’s outlook from stable to negative in January last year, confirming this finding again in July. Key to its assessment was a concern about Sanral’s ability to collect outstanding e-toll debt. Failure to do so would cut the road agency’s cash flows and raise its debt, which was already at R47-billion at the end of March last year.

In November, outstanding e-toll debt amounted to R5,9-billion and this has probably climbed since then.

Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona says on Monday credit ratings agencies and investors were concerned about a culture of non-payment of e-toll fees.

Sanral had to demonstrate its commitment to collect outstanding debt. Moody’s had clearly stated that Sanral’s rating could be downgraded because of its “inability to effectively enforce e-toll payments, leading to deteriorating cash flows and increased borrowing needs”.

“Although everyone – including those opposed to the system and nonpayers – has expressed concern about the impact of a downgrade of the sovereign and individual credit ratings, they fail to see the direct role their actions have on ratings,” Mona explains.

To tackle this, the agency announced last week that it would begin issuing civil summonses against persistent defaulters and on Monday issued a statement warning of the expiry of the 60% discount period at the end of next month.

Mona says that current payments of e-toll fees by Gauteng motorists of R80-million to R90-million a month were below projections, although still higher than the R60-million in the August to September period.

The discount on historic e-toll debt would expire at the end of next month.

The once-off discount applies to all unpaid e-tolls levied on the inner-Gauteng highways from the implementation of the e-toll system between December 2013 and 31 August 2015.

Mona warned that the discount would not be extended and urged motorists to pay sooner rather than later as there might be a rush at the end of next month, which could see some of those willing to pay lose out on the offer.

He says that the response to the discount offer had so far been encouraging, but it would be possible to gauge its success only at the end as many motorists were waiting until the last minute to take up the offer. He says some payments would come in after the deadline because of the payment arrangements some motorists were entering into in order to clear their records.

Mona says fewer than 20% of defaulting road users contacted for collection flatly refused to pay.

Some people and businesses have indicated that they are delaying payment for as long as possible for them to “earn” interest on the money.

By Lisa Ensor for www.bdlive.co.za

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top