In an attempt to gain more clarity on contracts between Sanral (South African National Roads Agency) and the N3TC (N3 Toll Concession), the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has lodged a formal request for information on the contract concluded between Sanral and N3TC.
Outa says it has even resorted to seeking intervention from Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula as Sanral allegedly appeared to drag their feet on the request for information.
Outa’s Stefanie Fick said contracts with long-distance road tolling concessionaire companies needed to be transparent with Sanral books open to the public.
“We believe there is a possibility that concessionaires could be benefiting from excessive profits, part of which may require credit to the road users in reduced toll fees or returns to Sanral.”
While public-private partnerships between the transport department and Sanral remain important in ensuring national road networks are built, Outa is adamant that profit and how much profit will be made should be information available to the public.
According to Outa CEO Wayne Duvenge, the organisation wants the public to know what the projected concessionaire profits look like, as well as what road users can expect to receive in lowered toll rates or revenue returns to Sanral, as something doesn’t add up.
“The annual returns Sanral has been receiving from the three concessionaires has been minimal and remained unchanged, year on year for many years. This would indicate that little is being done in the annual evaluation of the concessionaire profits, leaving us with a suspicion that the public may not be receiving a fair share of return from these contracts.
“During the past 10 years, the toll tariffs charged by the concessionaires have increased by approximately 80%, yet Sanral has received a fixed amount.”
The public has a vested interest, and a right to information sought from Sanral maintains Outa, which has lodged a PAIA (request for information in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act) on the matter, requesting the contents of the agreement.
“We can’t understand the secrecy. If our past experience with Sanral is anything to go by, we can’t trust Sanral to look after the public’s best interests,” said Duvenage.