Alex Mitchley and Yadhana Jadoo
2 minute read
3 Apr 2014
2:49 pm

ETC ‘sets record straight’ on e-toll retrenchments

Alex Mitchley and Yadhana Jadoo

The Electronic Tolling Collection Consortium (ETC), contracted to the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) has sought to set the record straight on retrenchments within the company.

FILE PICTURE: Sanral employees man their stations in the control room of the Central Operations Centre in Midrand, 24 November 2013. Picture: Refilwe Modise

This, after it was revealed on Wednesday by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, that Sanral had incurred over a half a billion rand in debt, through motorists not paying their e-toll bills.

The ETC, appointed by the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) deals with e-toll collections. It released a letter  currently doing its rounds on social media – on March 28 informing employees about retrenchments.

ETC CEO Jamie Surkont on Thursday in a reply to questions, confirmed “ that neither Sanral nor ETC staff members at head office, have been notified about any potential changes in their employment status”.

“The people that have been given notification of a change are temporary staff members that were appointed by a sub-contractor in order to perform certain functions,” he said.

“It is relevant to understand that ETC has utilised temporary labour as a result of the hiatus period caused by the various court processes that the project was exposed to; and further has used temporary labour as there is a degree of unpredictability in any project’s first few months of operations.”

Without giving the exact number of staff who would be retrenched, Surkont said ETC was of the view that it would be a far smaller proportion that those it would convert to ETC employees.

Surkont further denied Sanral’s debt had anything to do with the retrenchments.

“The issues are completely unrelated,” he said.

The letter states: “We will endeavour to retain and or deploy a number of employees across departments but where such accommodation cannot be made, we are obligated to consider possible retrenchment as a result”.

It is further indicate in the letter that the ETC project which started in February 2011 has since the implementation of the toll commencement (TC) December 3, 2013 been doing remarkably well.

“ETC believes in a culture of family and belonging and it is for this reasons that these subcontractor staff have been given notice of potential change as ETC is in the process of identifying which of these staff it will retain and convert to ETC employees,” said Surkont.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has meanwhile said that Sanral could be a further R2 billion in debt in the next three months.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, in answering Parliamentary questions exposed that amount of R543 544 574 had been transferred to Sanral’s Violations Processing Centre, with only 9.21% of transactions being recovered. This was for the period of December 3, 2013 to March 1, 2014.