Yadhana Jadoo
Political Editor
2 minute read
12 Dec 2014
2:00 pm

Gauteng profits low, say e-toll architects

Yadhana Jadoo

The profitability of the e-toll project in South Africa remains low, Austrian company Kapsch Traffic.Com – the "maker" of the user-pays system – has said, indicating that Gauteng motorists are still defying the system.

FILE PICTURE: A demonstration of the e-toll systems at the Central Operations Center in Midrand, 7 November 2012. Picture: Neil McCartney

In a letter within the company’s 2014/15 financial report, Kapsch CEO Georg Kapsch said: “We will continue to work hard on improving the profit situation in South Africa.”

READ MORE: Motorists turning off e-tags  

Kapsch spokesperson Bettina Widlar said the project in South Africa had not been doing well.

“The profitability of the South African project cannot keep up with those of other projects,” said Widlar. “The payment rate remains low, both the number of on-board units (e-tags) as well as payment rates still have the potential to increase.

“As a technology and service provider, we work closely with our customer (the SA National Roads Agency Ltd, Sanral) to improve profitability.”

The system has reached the “break-even point”, added Widlar.

Earlier this year, it was revealed, through Kapsch’s annual report, that opposition to e-tolling had substantially affected its revenue.

“The electronic toll collection system in the South African province of Gauteng … has up to now been the main cause of the mediocre company results,” the report said.

“The reporting period was characterised by postponements and cancellations of expected projects.

“Lower income from the South African project brought about the overall decrease in revenue.”

Georg Kapsch said the company’s earnings before interest and tax, of €3.7 million, for the period were “not exceptional”.

But they were a “significant improvement” over the previous year despite the “burden” of the continued delay in commissioning of the system in South Africa.

“Both the number of e-tags, as well as payment rate, still have potential to rise.

“The delay has resulted in losses … due to … training, attrition and general overheads like performance guarantees, forex exposure (and) interest,” Widlar said at the time.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has, meanwhile, been handed a socioeconomic report by a panel of experts tasked with assessing the e-toll system. It will be made public early next year.

However, the DA have file an application in terms of the Public Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the report after Makhura chose not to table the report in the Gauteng legislature last week.