Following the revelation that South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) paid R255 million to two European companies for the provision of e-tags, the roads agency has admitted it simply does not know how much it has repaid on its R20-billion loan for e-toll infrastructure.
“Please note that the R20 billion was the initial cost on the whole GFIP [Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project], not just the gantries. Sanral is currently in an external auditing process which will conclude at the end of July,” said Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona.
Mona said: “As per standard practice, we are therefore unable to provide you with the information at this point.
“However, the financial statements will be tabled with the Annual Report in parliament by the end of August 2017.”
This information gap, on the surface, is incongruent with prudent financial management as well as the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), as audited financial statements annexed to annual reports ought to have reported on financial sustainability of the entire project since its inception.
Mona is satisfied that Sanral is getting value for its money with regards to the R255-million e-tag bill.
“The e-tags were procured through a two-stage procurement process. The first stage involved the prequalification of tag suppliers, and was open to all possible suppliers.
“During this stage of the process, the compliance to, inter alia, the technical specifications are assessed. In the second stage, only the successful suppliers from the prequalification stage could tender,” he said.
Mona explained that seven companies participated in the “prequalification stage” that was open to all possible suppliers. Q-Free ASA, The Kapsch/ TMT Joint Venture and Efkon Lyng Consortium “were prequalified and participated in the tender stage”.
Sanral preferred European companies, as “the tags were procured based on the international technical specifications and CEN-278 standards. It is complex technology and standards and the e-toll application was fairly new in South Africa at the time of tender”.
The R327 million for printing of invoices and postal services was awarded to “a contractor, ETC” after this service provider “tendered for these services and subsequently appointed through a procurement process”.
Mona elaborated that ETC subcontracted Lithotec to perform “printing and delivery to the SA Post Office. The contract is therefore between ETC and Lithotec”.
Their tender contracts with Q-Free and Kapsch, Mona said, were “based on the tender requirements and tender information at the time”, and they were terminated in March 2017. The contract didn’t specify skills transfer as a condition.
The Citizen is waiting for a response from both companies that were emailed during the week.