Regarding the latest statement issued by the Democratic Alliance (DA) surrounding SANRAL’s e-tolling contract, Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), the company that operates and manages the Gauteng Open Road Tolling (GORT) project on behalf of SANRAL, wishes to provide clarity on the following:
Regarding the so-called contract extension, the original e-toll contract signed in October 2009 between ETC and SANRAL, made provision for an 8-year system support, facilities maintenance and customer service functions (“operational components”), from the date of toll commencement (December 2013). The back-office function namely the Transaction Clearing House (TCH) and Violations Processing Centre (VPC) portions of the contract was valid for 5 years from toll commencement, with an option to extend for another year. In April 2017 SANRAL entered into an agreement with ETC, after approval of a deviation by National Treasury to reduce the 8-year operational component of the contract to 6 years and extend the back office 5-year components to 6 years. This aligned contractual periods makes commercial and operational sense for all parties concerned.
The SANRAL contract with ETC has been openly available to all stakeholders and road users since the finalisation of the contract. The contract was also made available in hard copy to all political parties including the Democratic Alliance.
ETC believes it is irresponsible and irrational for political parties like the DA to call for the scrapping of e-tolls until viable alternatives for using the system have been finalised and agreed on. Simply closing down the system will mean the sudden loss of all the technical expertise and cutting-edge infrastructure. It will also mean the loss of 1,300 jobs, excluding subcontracted parties.
Furthermore, if the system is switched off, it will leave one of the busiest sub-Saharan roads without smart traffic management or maintenance services. The highly advanced, smart system deployed on this e-toll road network is designed to maximise the free flow of traffic and shutting down the system will severely increase traffic congestion in Gauteng.
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