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E-toll whistle blower confirms suspicions - Outa

Johannesburg - After receiving information from a source inside the e-toll system, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has lodged a subsidiary complaint with the public protector against the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) for alleged mismanagement of the Gauteng Open Road Tolling scheme.

The source agrees with Outa that the mismanagement stems "from Sanral having embarked on an extremely high risk strategy to develop an electronic tolling infrastructure for the entire country, without testing key assumptions or engaging sufficiently with key stakeholders".

Given the adversarial relationship between Sanral and Outa it was decided that it would be in the best interests of all parties for the Public Protector, as an impartial body with powers of subpoena, to investigate the allegations.

Wayne Duvenage, chair of Outa regards the disclosures as a “breakthrough” which he hopes "would start laying the table for meaningful multi-lateral engagement with all stakeholders to transcend the mess".

Duvenage said now that the e-toll system has commenced "we have seen a multitude of problems".

"The majority of the freeway users are not fitting e-tags nor are they prepared to foot the bill for a scheme that was never designed nor implimented with the best interests of the people at its core," he said in a statement issued on Sunday.

"The system has been poorly planned with insufficient cognisance given to the practical workability, public support and a host of very probable unintended consequences at the outset."

He said the whistle-blower has been in a position to confirm Outa's suspicions.

Duvanage has also communicated with the minister of transport and indicated Outa's desire to brief the Parlimentary Portfolio Committee on Transport on its views regarding e-tolling.

"But given that there is an election underway, it would appear the climate and appetite for an intervention at this level is not right at this time, which is a pity, as the mess unfolding will just get worse," said Duvenage.

"I can say that the complaint alleges abuse of power, dishonesty, maladministration and systemic problems in the risk assessment and management process within Sanral, dating back to the tender process and commencement of contractual negotiations with Kapsch TrafficCom back in 2007/8.”

By Fin24