Alli’s e-toll utterances: ‘teething problems’ or truth decay?

Following Mr Nazir Alli’s interview on Friday 28th February with John Robbie of Talk Radio 702, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) have notifed the Public Protector of an additional allegation of dishonesty against Mr Alli’.

03/03/2014 11:50:20

Alli’s e-toll utterances: ‘teething problems’ or truth decay?

Mr Alli said that the system was performing well, and thanked “the over one million users of the roads who had registered” and that SANRAL was now receiving “over R300 million per month, exceeding our target of R200 million” and was therefore “meeting our obligations”.

OUTA is of the opinion this information is a fabrication and misleading in that it the numbers make no sense. If indeed just over 1 million freeway users are compliant (driving with e-tags), out of a possible (approximately) 2,5 million, how is it possible that Mr Alli claims they have well exceeded their target of R200 million by 50% to achieve revenues of over R300 million?

Clearly Mr Alli is implying that all the invoices transferred from the Transaction Clearing House (TCH) to the Violations Processing Centre (VPC) – which is by far the greater portion of the revenue due – is collectable and part of his equation. OUTA believes that most of this revenue will not transpire into cash-flow for the e-toll system, leaving it short. There are also numerous discrepancies between the values and targets espoused recently by the SANRAL CFO and the CEO.

“Mr Alli obviously has an interest to push the fact that e-tags are in active use and not in various store rooms or shop shelves, by playing word-games,” says John Clarke, spokesperson for OUTA. “While there may indeed be 1.2 million e-tags in ‘circulation’, our opinion is that less than 750,000 are in vehicles on the freeways. Our research has been further corroborated by intelligence received from reliable sources which back up our claims that as of end February, slightly less than 30% of vehicles driving on the Gauteng freeways were fitted with e-tags.”

OUTA maintains it is time for SANRAL to come clean and be absolutely transparent on the numbers. The honest answers to the following questions will clearly show that not is all on track as Mr Alli claims and that the SOE has a serious problem.

The questions we would like to have honest answers to are:

(a) What is the exact number and percentage of vehicles on the Gauteng Freeways fitted with e-tags?;

(b) Of the total ‘revenues’ generated, what value and therefore what percentage of the total has been generated from e-tagged vehilces?;

(c) What is the value of the total revenue transferred to the VPC and finally;

(d) What percentage of the revenue in the VPC has been collected?

OUTA’s position paper titled ‘E-tolling at an Impasse’ was released to the public on Thursday and points out that if international examples were anything to go by, SANRAL’s e-toll project for Gauteng’s freeways has been a dismal failure and will not survive in the medium term. The problem with the e-toll system is not ‘teething problems’ as Mr Alli says, but ‘truth decay’ emanating from the State Owned Entity.”

OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.