OUTA v SANRAL:
The Gauteng e-tolls
OUTA'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST TOLLING GAUTENG'S URBAN FREEWAYS
Challenging the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project e-tolls
The Gauteng e-tolls
Since 3 December 2013, motorists have been tolled for using the seven urban freeways which make up the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), which are mainly in Johannesburg and Tshwane.
The existing freeways were upgraded over a few years. Construction started in June 2008.
GFIP is managed by the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL), a state-owned entity (SOE) which reports to the national Department of Transport.
During 2008, the Department of Transport and SANRAL reclassified the relevant sections of the seven roads as toll roads. The intention was to use the toll revenue to pay off the debt raised for upgrading roads.
However, when the public realised how much the tolling would cost, there was a huge outcry. There has been significant opposition to paying for e-tolls since the start.
The GFIP uses e-tolling (electronic tolling or open road tolling), which uses gantries which log the passage of vehicles and link to a system which generates billing. This system means vehicles do not have to stop at a toll booth to pay, so traffic flow is not interrupted.
SANRAL manages national roads, both tolled routes and non-toll routes. Funding for the tolled and non-tolled routes is kept separate, with government providing funding for the non-toll roads.
OUTA has challenged the e-tolls through the courts, starting in 2012. The current legal challenge was (as at the end of 2020) still ongoing.
OUTA regards the GFIP e-toll system as irrational, inefficient, costly and largely unworkable.
While OUTA is challenging the e-toll system, we note:
• We understand and support the need for road improvements.
• We support the role of Government to formulate equitable solutions to meet the needs of all citizens.
• OUTA is not against the use of modern e-tolling technology, which we know works well in many parts of the world.
OUTA has warned that:
• The scheme would never achieve the required compliance levels (which by international standards should exceed 80% of users paying). Compliance has ranged from 43% to 27%).
• The collection process was too costly (approximately 30% at full compliance) when international administration costs of similar schemes are generally no more than 10%.
• The scheme relies on data from the eNatis system which contains inaccuracies.
• The scheme relies on the existence of an efficient postal service, which is not available.
• The regulatory environment was not suitable for effective enforcement.
A fuel levy: a more viable alternative
The fuel levy is a current and highly effective government tax policy, used to take funds directly from road users into the national fiscus, from where Treasury apportions a certain amount to SANRAL for road building. Had the fuel levy been increased by 9c per litre in 2008 (when the road construction began) when the fuel levy was R1.21 per litre, Treasury would have raised R16bn and virtually paid off the capital costs of the GFIP by 2016.
The legal challenges: an overview
OUTA was established in March 2012 (as the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance) to oppose the imposition of e-tolls on the Gauteng urban freeways.
A month after OUTA was set up, it launched the first court case to oppose the tolling.
In 2021, OUTA is still using the courts to challenge the legality of tolling the Gauteng freeways.
There have been different court cases around the e-tolls.
The 2012-2013 cases
2012: The Pretoria High Court case: This was an application to review and set aside the declaration of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project roads as toll roads. On 13 December 2012, the court dismissed this application.
2012: The Constitutional Court appeal: This was an appeal by the National Treasury and SANRAL against OUTA and others, against the temporary restraining order granted by the Pretoria High Court preventing SANRAL from implementing and collecting tolls. The appeal was upheld, which ended the restraining order.
2013: The appeal: The Pretoria High Court judgment was appealed in 2013. On 9 October 2013, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.
An outline of the 2012-2013 court cases is here.
The current legal challenge
2015-2020: The legal challenge to SANRAL summonses to supporters
As at the end of 2020, this case was still ongoing and no court dates have been set.
In late 2015, OUTA set up the E-toll Defence Umbrella for OUTA supporters.
This was aimed at bringing together e-toll defaulters who were being summonsed for the unpaid bills by SANRAL. It aims to crowdfund a joint defence, run by OUTA's lawyers. (For more on this, see here.)
In May 2017, OUTA served SANRAL with responding pleas to a summons issued to an OUTA contributing supporter for outstanding e-toll payments. This is expected to become the test case for challenging the legality of the e-tolls. The matter is SANRAL’s action against Thandanani Truckers and Hauliers in the Pretoria High Court. SANRAL served Thandanani with a summons for R402 841 in unpaid e-toll fees, run up from January 2014 to August 2015. Other cases are being joined to this.
The legal challenges: 2012-2013 cases
2. South African Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association (SAVRALA)
3. Quadpara Association of South Africa
4. South African National Consumer Union
2. Minister of Transport
3. Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport
4. Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs
5. National Consumer Commission
6. National Treasury
On 12 March 2012, OUTA (the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, which later was renamed the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse) was formed.
On 23 March 2012, OUTA and others filed an application opposing the imposition of e-tolls in the Pretoria High Court.
In the first part of the application, OUTA et al asked for an urgent interdict to stop the implementation of the e-toll scheme. The planned date for the start of e-tolls at the time was 30 April 2012.
On 28 April 2012 an interim interdict was granted, but this interdict was later overturned by the Constitutional Court (the Concourt did not make any decision on the review itself).
In the second part of the application, OUTA et al asked for the decisions in 2008 which declared the Gauteng freeways as toll roads be reviewed and set aside. The applicants also asked for condonation of the late filing of the application. They initially also asked for the environmental authorisations to be set aside but later dropped this, so the third and fourth respondents did not participate in the hearing.
OUTA et al cited the lack of public participation in declaring the roads as toll roads and the unlawful nature of the scheme. They argued that the situation differed from the tolling of national roads, because: the GFIP roads are urban roads in an around two major cities; hundreds of thousands of commuters use these roads daily; the users do not have sufficient viable alternatives to these roads; the long-haul truckers are even more captive to this network; and public transport is inadequate. They also argued that enforcing the tolling system would be virtually impossible, due to the expected high levels on non-compliance.
On 13 December 2012, the high court dismissed the OUTA application and awarded costs against OUTA, including the costs of the Concourt appeal on the interim interdict.
The court said that “the costs of tolling, the merits of using toll as a means to finance the GFIP scheme and the proposed e-toll tariffs which would be necessary to finance the scheme, are irrelevant considerations for purposes of this review. Those considerations fall within the preserve of executive government and therefore outside the jurisdiction of this court.”
It said matters such as the capital costs of the scheme, the operating costs and the likely tariff were not matters for public participation “as those matters fall squarely within the domain of the executive government as a matter of financial policy”, and that information on the proposed toll road declarations was published in the Government Gazette and newspapers circulating in Gauteng which was adequate.
OUTA’s founding affidavit of 23 March 2012 is here.
SANRAL's notice to oppose the application on 28 March 2012 is here.
SANRAL's answering affidavit by CEO Nazir Alli on 12 April 2012 is here.
The responding affidavit from the Minister of Transport and Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport on 12 April 2012 is here.
The National Treasury’s application to intervene on 18 April 2012 is here.
OUTA’s notice of intention of 21 April 2012 to amend notice of motion is here.
The judgment of 28 April 2012 granting interim relief (temporarily blocking SANRAL from collecting e-tolls pending the finalisation of the review application) is here.
OUTA’s heads of argument of 22 October 2012 are here.
The high court judgment of 13 December 2012 is here.
2012: The appeal to the Concourt against the the high court interim interdict
Concourt case number 38/12
This appeal was brought by the National Treasury, SANRAL and others, against the Pretoria High Court's interim interdict which prevented SANRAL from collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of the main application.
The notice of motion brought by Treasury et al on 21 May 2012 is here.
The Treasury-SANRAL replying affidavit is here.
OUTA's supplementary affidavit is here.
SANRAL's replying affidavit is here.
SANRAL's chronology is here.
SANRAL's written submission is here.
Treasury's heads of argument are here.
The Concourt's media summary of 15 August 2012, explaining the case before argument was heard, is here.
2013: The appeal to the SCA against the high court review judgment
Supreme Court of Appeal
Case number 90/2013
(Appeal of Pretoria High Court case 17141/12)
(Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance v The South African National Roads Agency Limited (90/2013)  ZASCA 148 (9 October 2013))
This was an appeal against the December 2012 judgment of the Pretoria High Court, which had dismissed OUTA’s case to overturn the e-tolls.
The appeal was refused, in a unanimous ruling by six judges.
The SCA found that the case was brought too late. However, the SCA ruling included allowing the public to introduce a collateral (defensive) challenge, if they are summonsed for non-payment of e-tolls.
The court set aside the high court costs order against OUTA, and replaced it with an order that there be no costs order. Effectively, this meant that the parties all paid their own legal costs.
Points included in the appeal judgment:
The SANRAL Act lists 12 financing options available to SANRAL. Three of these were relevant to this dispute: fuel levies, tolls, and funds appropriated by Parliament. The dispute focused not on whether the GFIP roads should be upgraded, but on how the upgrades should be funded.
The GFIP funding proposals originated in the White Paper on transport of 1996, a September 2006 report by SANRAL, the Department of Transport and the Gauteng government, and a GFIP proposal submitted to Cabinet in July 2007 by the Department of Transport. The SCA judgment said the Cabinet identified the most suitable funding as a toll scheme with electronic fare collection to ensure the free flow of traffic, and Cabinet approved this.
On 8 October 2007, the Minister of Transport officially launched the GFIP. SANRAL’s presentation referred to an estimated tariff of 30c-50c per km. SANRAL’s notice of intent to toll were subsequently gazetted, inviting comment from the public for a month. The roads were subsequently declared as toll roads.
The costs incurred by SANRAL to finance the GFIP construction exceeded R20bn, and SANRAL procured this by issuing bonds, which are effectively repayable loans, with repayment guaranteed by government.
The toll tariffs were announced in February 2011, with tolling due to start on 23 June 2011. A massive public outcry followed. The Minister suspended the implementation of tolling and set up a steering committee to review the tariffs, but made it clear that the implementation of tolling itself was not being reviewed. The committee recommended that the tariff be reduced from about 66c/km to about 30c/km, with a monthly cap of R550 for e-tag users, which Cabinet accepted.
OUTA argued that a ring-fenced fuel levy would be the best means of funding the GFIP, as there would be no costs of collection, and that the costs of open road tolling were so unreasonable that a reasonable administrator would not use that option.
The debate in the case was not about the need for the GFIP, but on how the upgrade was to be funded. The main thrust of the OUTA case was that SANRAL should have used a method other than tolling, such as a fuel levy.
The Cabinet had known from viability studies from consultants that e-tolling would be sophisticated and expensive but ultimately approved it.
The Constitutional Court held that this was a policy decision with which the courts would not interfere, and the SCA judgment reiterated this.
The high court and SCA found that the delay of some five years between the declaration of the roads as toll roads and bringing the case was too long, and that the upgrades had been completed by then with borrowed money which would have to be repaid.
Although the courts ruled the main challenge out of time, they left the way open for a collateral challenge to the e-tolls later. A collateral challenge is used when the legality of the law itself may be questioned but was not legally challenged, but subsequent actions taken in terms of that law – the collateral – may be challenged.
OUTA’s application for leave to appeal of 8 January 2013 is here.
OUTA’s heads of argument of 15 June 2013 are here.
SANRAL’s heads of argument of 9 July 2012 are here.
National Treasury’s heads of argument of 9 July 2013 are here.
SANRAL’s e-tolls chronology is here.
The judgment of 9 October 2013 is here.
The legal challenges: The E-Toll Defence Umbrella and the current legal challenge
Where we are now (2021)
OUTA’s test case against SANRAL on the constitutionality (therefore the lawfulness and enforceability) of the e-toll scheme is on hold while government decides on the future of e-tolls. If need be, we will merely continue the case once government makes a formal decision on the future of e-tolls. Until then, we will continue challenging this irrational, failed scheme at every opportunity.
How we got here
In October 2015, OUTA set up the E-toll Defence Umbrella.
The E-toll Defence Umbrella crowd-funds the litigation process in the challenge to SANRAL’s strategy of summonsing e-toll defaulters. This is for motorists who face a summons from SANRAL for unpaid e-toll bills and who would like to use OUTA’s lawyers to defend the claim.
While the Supreme Court of Appeal (in this court’s judgment in October 2013) allowed SANRAL to continue its e-toll scheme, the court also made it clear that a defensive challenge could be raised against SANRAL if it prosecutes motorists for failing to pay e-tolls.
OUTA assists motorists who are opposed to SANRAL’s claims in two ways. Firstly, it tests the merits of each case since every case differs. Secondly, and more importantly, is the “collateral challenge”, which is the legal challenge related to the constitutionality of the e-toll scheme itself.
OUTA would like this collateral challenge to be heard prior to the merits of each specific case being heard, because if that is won, tthe entire e-toll scheme falls. OUTA believes there is a strong case, but it is slow work getting it through the courts, because there are many individual cases and a tremendous amount of paperwork involved.
The issues may be separated, so that the issues of lawfulness of the scheme are argued before the merits of each case. This means using a test case, or a group of test cases to cover all the issues, but these cases have not yet been agreed on between OUTA and SANRAL, and a court date has not been set for the first case.
When OUTA's lawyers act for the OUTA supporters, they file a notice of intention to defend each summons, which prevents SANRAL from obtaining default judgments against the defaulters.
Amongst other things, OUTA is arguing that:
SANRAL’s declarations of the Gauteng freeways as toll roads are invalid as they don’t comply with public information and consultation requirements in the SANRAL Act and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act;
SANRAL’s toll declarations are against the constitution which requires “Supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law”;
SANRAL’s notices of intention to toll were materially inadequate and flawed;
There was insufficient notification and time for the public to comment during the public engagement exercise and furthermore, SANRAL didn’t properly consider the few comments that were made;
The Minister of Transport’s approval of the tolling is unlawful and invalid as these decisions were irrational and he did not sufficiently consider the costs, any alternative means of funding the roads, alternative routes for motorists or the impossibility of enforcing open road tolling;
The SANRAL board failed to approve the tolling before the declarations were issued and furthermore, failed to consider alternative funding, excluded the fuel levy as a means of funding, failed to consider whether it was practical to enforce open road tolling, failed to consider alternative routes, failed to consider the costs of the toll operations and failed to consider the substance of public representations;
Both the minister and the SANRAL board wrongly abdicated their decision-making powers by considering themselves bound by cabinet’s decision in July 2007 to toll Gauteng freeways;
The environmental authorisation is invalid as it was not correctly processed by the M inister of Environmental Affairs;
SANRAL didn’t follow the legal requirements for delivering the invoices for the e-toll fees owed;
SANRAL charged VAT on the e-tolls incorrectly and was not entitled to do so;
SANRAL did not provide reasonable alternative non-tolled routes, which violates constitutional rights to freedom of movement and equal treatment.
Progress in the case
May 2017: OUTA pulls out of attempts to work with SANRAL to jointly identify an e-toll claim test case, as it was taking too long to get to court. Instead, OUTA identifies the summons against supporter Thandanani Truckers and Hauliers as a key case and compiles papers based on this.
10 May 2017: OUTA’s E-Toll Defence Umbrella: OUTA lawyers serve SANRAL's lawyers with responding pleas to summonses issued for outstanding e-toll payments against OUTA's contributing supporters. This includes the Thandanani plea, one of the main defendants in the high court claims, who was issued with a summons for R402 841.62 in unpaid e-tolls run up from January 2014 to August 2015. Thandanani had an e-toll account with its address listed but SANRAL sent invoices to the wrong address, used ordinary mail instead of registered mail and failed to send any invoices at all during some weeks. This case effectively becomes the basis of OUTA's "test case" against the e-tolls, which will argue that the scheme was introduced unlawfully. The matter is in the Pretoria High Court. [OUTA, "Gloves are off as OUTA files e-toll court papers", 11 May 2017] The Thandanani plea papers are here.
October 2017: OUTA identifies four defendants in the high court actions and agrees with SANRAL to halt proceedings (up to close of pleadings between parties) of all other matters, pending the outcome of the test case.
2018: OUTA joins individual defendants to the now consolidated test case of representative spread of defendants, challenging the constitutionality of the e-toll scheme in a singular matter, without clogging up the court with thousands of e-toll cases. The test case now includes individuals who were sued by SANRAL in the magistrate’s court. Due to nature of the matter, the test case is allocated for case management under Judge Ronel Tolmay.
February 2018: OUTA’s E-Toll Defence Umbrella: OUTA lawyers are defending 576 cases on behalf of e-toll defaulters who received summonses from SANRAL. These had a total value of R71.3 million and were 515 cases in magistrates’ courts and 61 in the high court. [OUTA annual report 2017/18]
25 September 2018: Minister of Transport told Parliament that SANRAL has issued 15 505 summonses for e-toll debt, that only 3 724 (24%0 of these were served on the defendants and that 1 320 of those served are being defended. [Reply RNW2673, published 25 September 2018]
February 2019: OUTA’s E-Toll Defence Umbrella: OUTA lawyers are defending 1 234 cases on behalf of e-toll defaulters who received summonses from SANRAL. These were 1 205 cases in magistrates’ courts with a total value of R75.105 million and 29 cases in the high court valued at R86.126m. The highest value single claim is R20.239m and the lowest value is R1 360. [
OUTA annual report 2018/19
February 2019: OUTA estimates its lawyers have by now filed about 135 000 pages of legal documents over several years and in many courts in the e-toll cases against SANRAL. [ OUTA annual report 2018/19 ]
March 2019: The test case litigation is at an advance stage and the SANRAL attorneys and OUTA’s attorneys file the discovery documents.
27 March 2019: SANRAL announces its board has decided to suspend the process of pursuing e-toll debt. [News24, “ Sanral suspends process of pursuing e-toll debt ”, 27 March 2019; and SANRAL statement, SANRAL’s board passes resolution on e-toll summonses , 27 March 2019]
18 March 2019: The Credit Bureau Association announces that e-toll debt may not be used to blacklist defaulters’ credit records. “ The Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Act, 2013, which amended the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act, 1998, specifically excludes the levying and collecting of e-tolls from the provisions of the National Credit Act, 2005 (NCA). Credit bureaus receive, hold, display and remove consumer information in accordance with the provisions of the NCA and accordingly are not able to hold information which is specifically excluded from the provisions of the NCA,” said the CBA. [ CBA statement , 18 March 2019]
March – April 2019: OUTA’s attorneys engage with SANRAL’s attorneys on the continuance of test case. SANRAL’s attorneys confirm they have received no instruction from SANRAL to continue.
February 2020: OUTA’s E-Toll Defence Umbrella: OUTA lawyers are defending 2 028 cases on behalf of e-toll defaulters who received summonses from SANRAL, with a total value of R139.192m. These were 1 029 cases in magistrates’ courts with a total value of R52.335 million and 99 cases in the high court valued at R86.858m. [OUTA annual report 2019/20]
June – July 2020: OUTA receives various queries from supporters who received letters of demand dated June 2020 from SANRAL on outstanding e-toll debt.
2021: OUTA’s test case against SANRAL on the constitutionality (therefore the lawfulness and enforceability) of the e-toll scheme is on hold while government decides on the future of e-tolls. If need be, we will merely continue the case once government makes a formal decision on the future of e-tolls. Until then, we will continue challenging this irrational, failed scheme at every opportunity.
The future of e-tolls: Government's decision promised in July 2019 still awaited
14 December 2020:
Minister Mbalula says an announcement
on the future of e-tolls is expected early in 2021.
OUTA reports on e-tolls
An evaluation of the Gauteng e-tolling system.
OUTA submitted this report to the Gauteng Advisory Panel on the socio-economic impact of e-tolls.
This is an update of the February 2014 report.
A summary of the e-toll situation.
OUTA presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Transport.
A position paper unpacking the legacy of Gauteng's freeway upgrade construction costs.
Report and presentation on SANRAL's high cost of road construction and the overpayment of almost R10bn on the GFIP.
This package is a revision and update of the February 2016 position paper "Society's odious GFIP debt, courtesy of SANRAL".
This report was submitted to the Ministers in the Economic Cluster, who were looking at how to reduce the consumer burden of high fuel prices.
This report was submitted to the Ministers in the Economic Cluster, for the review on high fuel prices, and includes information on the e-tolls.
This report was presented to the Minister of Transport.
This is an update of the 2014 report.
This was a presentation to the Minister as a member of the Cabinet sub-committee tasked with making a decision on funding for the GFIP roads.
The GFIP costs
This is how Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project costs grew.
February 2008 estimate: R14.3bn
[National Treasury, Chapter 7 of the Budget Review 2008, 20 February 2008]
February 2010: R22.0bn
[National Treasury, Chapter 4, Budget Review 2010, 17 February 2010
Road construction: R16.9bn (including contract price adjustment, excluding VAT)
Toll infrastructure: R0.725bn
Toll system: R1.16bn
Intelligent Transport Systems: R0.350bn
Current maintenance: R0.090bn
Total estimated cost: R19.23bn (excl VAT)
Toll revenue at 66c/km was estimated at R0.300bn a month.
[Written reply to Parliament by Minister of Transport, question RNW328, 28 March 2011]
August 2011: R22.7bn excl VAT or R25.9bn incl VAT
[Written reply to Parliament by Minister of Transport, question 2001, 22 August 2011]
May 2012: R89.722bn expenditure over 24 years
Initial capital cost (price of the road upgrade): R20.630bn (this is 23% of the total expenditure)
Road maintenance: R10.670bn (12%)
Violation Processing Centre operating expenditure: R6.194bn (7%)
Toll-related operating expenditure (excl VPC): R12.170bn (13%)
Other operational expenses: R1.727bn (2%)
Interest payments: R38.331bn (43%)
Total over 24 years: R89.722bn
Paying it off
Collecting R89.722bn over 24 years = R10.242m every day or about R307m a month.
The e-toll collections
The graphic below shows how OUTA showed SANRAL's collection strategy in November 2015, based on figures from SANRAL's annual report for 2014/15.
The graphic shows how the GFIP roads constitute only about 1% of SANRAL's road network, yet SANRAL attempted to extract from motorists R9.9bn over 2014/15. When it became clear that SANRAL could not collect on the R9.9bn billed to motorists, the new dispensation was brought in and SANRAL reduced the expected e-toll revenue for that year to R3.8bn. However, only R1.1bn was collected that year.
Below is a graphic showing the scope of the public rejection of e-tolls.
This shows e-toll collections (the actual collections, not the amounts billed) from the start in December 2013 to September 2015.
In May 2016, SANRAL had to acknowledge the failure of the 60% discount offer on unpaid debt which ran from July 2015 to May 2016. SANRAL admitted that more than 2.7 million Gauteng road users had not made a single e-toll payment.
This graphic shows SANRAL's forecast for e-toll receipts against the actual collections, from December 2013 when e-tolls started to March 2018.
See graphic here.
In a memo to the Standing Committee on Appropriations, the National Treasury explained the need to shift funds from non-toll road funding to toll road funding.
"The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) cash collection are significantly lower than projected at R65 million per month. SANRAL requires approximately R240 million per month to service its GFIP debt." This has affected SANRAL's access to the bond market.
The Treasury said that R1.9 billion was shift from SANRAL's non-toll allocation to the GFIP in 2017/18 and that R5.75 billion would be transferred to the toll budget.
Treasury said that SANRAL's total outstanding debt was R47 billion and that the GFIP debt was R39 billion of this or 83 percent of it.
The Treasury memo is here.
The collection contracts
The 2009 contract
There are three main contracts for running the e-tolls: the Open Road Tolling (ORT), the Transaction Clearing House (TCH) and the Violation Processing Centre (VPC).
SANRAL contracted Electronic Toll Collections (ETC), a joint venture between Kapsch TrafficCom AG (based in Austria) and TMT Services and Supplies (Pty) Ltd.
The original contracts with ETC were signed in 2009 but all started running from 3 December 2013, when the e-tolls were switched on. The ORT contract was for eight years, and the TCH and VPC contracts each five years. It is understood that the TCH and VPC contracts had options to renew for a further two years.
That would have ended the TCH and VPC contracts – needed to collect e-tolls and pursue defaulters – by 2 December 2020 at the latest.
But SANRAL quietly changed the ETC contracts in mid-2017, changing all three of them to six-year contracts, and giving all of them the option of a one-year or two-year extension. That takes the maximum contract length for all three to 2 December 2021. The change is believed to have been signed in April 2017, just a month after the Minister of Transport told Parliament in March 2017 that the ORT contract was eight years and the TCH and VPC contracts were each five years.
OUTA found confirmation of the change in a reply to Parliament on 10 April 2019, when the Minister of Transport confirmed the change in the contracts but did not specify when this took place, and said that the changed agreement was approved by the National Treasury.
December 2020: The last-minute extension
2021: A new contract
SANRAL has advertised a new set of e-toll collection contracts at least twice.
In 2019, SANRAL issued a tender for a new contract (tender NRA X.002-135-2019/1), with a closing date of 23 September 2019, later extended to 28 October 2019. Bids were received from South African e-Toll Operator (SAeTO) (no price specified in the public record), Kusa Kokutsha (R7.548bn) and Phambili Joint Venture (R11.399bn).
In March 2020, this tender was cancelled.
In July 2020, a second tender was advertised (tender NRA X.002-140-2020/1), with a closing date of 16 September 2020. This tender plans a principal contract of six years, including a one-year transition period, plus an option to extend for another two years. The tender includes keeping on ETC as a subcontractor for at least 21 months to help with the transition.
Two bids were submitted, from SAeTO and Phambili JV Gijima; no prices were listed in the public record.
One of the bidders for the first tender, Kusa Kokutsha, was shortlisted for the award before the contract was cancelled. Kusa Kokutsha took SANRAL to court to challenge the cancellation of this tender but on 8 December 2020 the Pretoria High Court ruled against Kusa Kokutsha.
OUTA found that Kusa Kokutsha was registered as a business only on 26 August 2019, so appears to have been set up specifically to bid for this contract. This indicates it has no track record. Through its directors, Kusa Kokutsha is linked to ETC and its business partners TMT and Kapsch.
The Ministers of Transport
These were the Ministers of Transport during the GFIP period:
Jeff Radebe: 29 April 2004 - 9 May 2009
S’bu Ndebele: 10 May 2009 - 11 June 2012
Ben Martins: 12 June 2012 – 8 July 2014
Dipuo Peters: 9 July 2014 – 29 March 2017
Joe Maswanganyi: 30 March 2017 – 25 February 2018
Blade Nzimande: 26 February 2018 – May 2019
Fikile Mbalula: from 29 May 2019
An e-tolls chronology
The Gauteng e-tolls: 42 tolling points on seven roads over 185km
This is the history of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP)
1987 – Abolition of ring-fenced fuel levy. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
1996 – Government White Paper includes tolling as a method of financing roads. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
1 April 1998 – South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) established. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
April 1998 – Gauteng Department of Transport and Public Works produces a policy document “Gauteng Toll Roads – Growth Means Transport: A Toll Roads Strategy for Gauteng”. The strategy envisages the construction of eight tolls at a 1996 cost of R6.8bn over 20 to 30 years. The policy was developed under the direction of Paul Mashatile, then Gauteng’s MEC for Transport and Public Works. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012] [Civil Engineering journal, June 1998] [Dr Ismail Vadi, 31 January 2020, “Fashioning an integrated transport system for the Gauteng City-Region”]
13 June 2003 – Gauteng publishes the Gauteng Toll Roads Bill of 2003, “to provide for the declaration, construction, operation, maintenance, and control of provincial toll roads in Gauteng” and provide for charging of tolls. [Gauteng Provincial Gazette no. 203 of 13 June 2003] This bill was not processed by the Gauteng Legislature. [Dr Ismail Vadi, 31 January 2020, “Fashioning an integrated transport system for the Gauteng City-Region”]
2005 – SANRAL approached the Minister of Transport with a project proposal for the GFIP and open road tolling. [SANRAL presentation, 4 November 2010.]
December 2006 – SANRAL awards two 12-month contracts, together worth about R1.5 billion, for the design and supervision of upgrades for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, which has an estimated total project costs of R14 billion. “Cabinet is looking at the possibility of tolling sections of this highway,” said Pieter van Niekerk of consulting engineering and project management group SSI which was awarded the contracts. [SAICE, Civil Engineering, Vol 15 No 9, September 2007]
23 May 2007 – SANRAL publishes notice of intention to apply for environmental authorisations for the GFIP. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
24 July 2007 – The Department of Transport submits a proposal to Cabinet on the GFIP scheme. “Cabinet noted the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Scheme proposal and supported the initiative in principle, subject to more attention being paid to environmental issues such as pollution (carbon emissions), and the involvement of municipalities on spatial issues such as location of developments and land acquisition. The Minister of transport will release the details of the scheme at a later stage.” [Cabinet statement, 24 July 2007]
8 October 2007 – The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project was launched by Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe. Radebe’s speech is here. “We are investing more than R12 billion in the first phase of this project, due for completion by 2010. For the second phase, which is due for completion in 2015, we will invest R20 billion and R23 billion for the final phase to be completed in 2018. This project will be financed through the 'user-pay' principle, and it will allow our roads to be funded, without resorting to the national fiscus for such projects,” said Radebe.
12 October 2007 – SANRAL gazettes notices of intention to declare sections of Gauteng national roads as toll roads, with one month for public comment. [SANRAL, Department of Transport, Notices No.962-367 of 12 October 2007, Government Gazette no. 30372 of 12 October 2007]
7 November 2007 – Environmental authorisations under National Environmental Management Act for upgrading of national roads. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
14 December 2007 – Closing date for public authorities to make representations in respect of declaration of toll roads. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
11 February 2008 – “Cabinet approved the GFIP at a cost of R23 billion,” Minister of Public Enterprises, Alec Erwin, told a media briefing. https://pmg.org.za/briefing/18602/
18 & 19 February 2008 – Environmental authorisations under National Environmental Management Act for upgrading of national roads. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
20 February 2008 – The national Budget says the estimated cost of the first phase of the GFIP, to be finished by 2012, is R14.3 billion. [National Treasury, Chapter 7 of the Budget Review 2008]
28 March 2008 - The Gauteng roads are legally changed to toll roads, when SANRAL gazettes the declarations in terms of Section 27 of the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act. These are six of the seven roads in the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. [SANRAL, Department of Transport, Notices 349-354, Government Gazette no. 30912 of 28 March 2008]
9 May 2008 – SANRAL announces that it has awarded seven contracts for the first phase of the GFIP (125.5km) for a total of R11.5bn.
18 June 2008 – Closing date for public authorities to make representations in respect of final declaration of toll roads. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
28 July 2008 – SANRAL changes sections of the R21 in Gauteng to a toll road, in a SANRAL declaration. The R21 is the seventh of the seven GFIP roads. This declaration was delayed as the R21 first had to be transferred from the Gauteng provincial government to SANRAL. [SANRAL, Department of Transport, Notice 800, Government Gazette no 31273 of 28 July 2008]
December 2008 – SANRAL completes pre-qualification of potential contractors. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
April 2009 – SANRAL invites pre-qualified contractors to submit tenders for open-road tolling system. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
8 September 2009 – Construction of toll gantries starts. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
18 September 2009 – SANRAL announces that it has awarded the open road tolling contract to the Electronic Toll Collection joint venture (ETC) for R1.6bn and that the system will go live in April 2011. [SANRAL statement, 18 September 2009] The ETC JV comprises Kapsch TrafficCom AB (based in Austria) and TMT Services and Supplies (Pty) Ltd. The joint venture was run by ETC, by agreement with SANRAL. ETC’s contract was linked to the date that e-tolls are switched on: ultimately 3 December 2013.
19 December 2009 – The Department of Transport publishes the draft Transport Law Enforcement and Related Matters General Amendment Bill of 2009, for public comment. The bill intends to provide more effectively for law enforcement on collection of tolls. [Department of Transport, Notice no. 1544, Government Gazette no. 31715 of 19 December 2008]
17 February 2010 – The national Budget says the GFIP total project cost is expected to be R22.0bn; this refers to Phase I (2012), phase 2 and 3 (2020). [National Treasury, Chapter 4, Budget Review 2010]
1 March 2010 – The government’s Infrastructure Development Cluster says road networks get R70bn over three years, which “includes the R23bn Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project”. [GCIS, Infrastructure Development Cluster media briefing, 1 March 2010]
15 March 2010 –The Department of Transport publishes the Transport Law Enforcement and Related Matters General Amendment Bill [B – 2010], for public comment. The bill intends to provide more effectively for law enforcement on collection of tolls. [Department of Transport, Notice no. 245, Government Gazette no. 33027 of 15 March 2010]
June 2010 – Gautrain link from Sandton to OR Tambo International Airport opens. [“Cabinet approves toll tariffs for Gauteng Freeway”, Cabinet statement, 11 August 2011]
4 February 2011 – Department of Transport DG George Mahlalela announces that SANRAL’s toll fees for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project will be set at 66c per km for cars, less for motorbikes and more for trucks. Prices of the 42 tolling points range in price for cars from R3.43 to R9.24 and for heavy vehicles from R20.58 to R55.44. Tolls are to be levied from 23 June 2011. [Department of Transport, Notice no. 52, Government Gazette no. 33987 of 4 February 2011] Public outcry follows.
22 February 2011 - Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane announce the suspension of toll tariffs pending a task team review of the financial model. [“Gazetted GP tolls suspended”, SA News (South African Government News Agency), 22 February 2011]
7 March 2011 – The GFIP Steering Committee is set up, comprising Transport DG George Mahlalela (chair), SANRAL CEO Nazir Alli, Kgaogelo Lekgoro from the Office of the Gauteng Premier, and Benny Monama from the Gauteng Department of Transport. [Pretoria News, “Fuel tax will kill the need for tolls”, 19 March 2011]
22 March to 7 April 2011 - The GFIP Steering Committee holds public consultations on the disputed tolls. [Department of Transport statement, 16 March 2011] The committee ultimately recommended that the tariff be reduced from 66c to 30c/km with a monthly cap of R550 for e-tag users.
27 May 2011 – The Star reports that the cost of operating the e-toll system may be as high as R14 billion, which is more than double the R6.22bn SANRAL said it would cost. This is based on a confidential report. SANRAL says the tender to build and operate the toll operations was R6.22bn over eight year, excluding VAT. This is the ETC contract. However, The Star says a copy of ETC’s tender offer for contract N.001-201-2008/1 shows that the offer was for R9.9bn. [The Star, “Shock toll-roads report”, 27 May 2011]
10 June 2011 – Engineering News summary of GFIP work, progress and list of contractors. The cost is R21bn, for 185km of freeway, intersection upgrades and land additions, with the cost estimated at R80m per kilometre to upgrade. [Engineering News, “Gauteng freeway improvement project, South Africa”, 10 June 2011]
23 June 2011 - Tolling was due to start on this day, but was postponed indefinitely due to public protests. [Engineering News, “Gauteng freeway improvement project, South Africa”, 10 June 2011] [SCA judgment, 9 October 2013]
30 June 2011 – GFIP Steering Committee recommends tariffs be reduced from R2.97/km to R2km for large vehicles, from R1.49/km to R1/km for medium vehicles, from 49c/km to 40c/km for light vehicles, from 30c/km to 24c/km for motorcycles, and from 16.5c/km to 11c/km for taxis. [GFIP Steering Committee statement, 30 June 2011]
4 July 2011 – Minister of Transport S’bu Ndebele withdraws the GFIP tolls tariffs gazette on 4 February 2011. [Department of Transport, Notice no. 437, Government Gazette no. 34419 of 4 July 2011]
2 August 2011 – The Gautrain link from Johannesburg to Tshwane opens. [“Cabinet approves toll tariffs for Gauteng Freeway”, Cabinet statement, 11 August 2011]
10 August 2011 – Cabinet approves the new e-toll tariffs as recommended by the GFIP Steering Committee on 30 June 2011, and exempts taxis and commuter buses from e-tolls. [“Cabinet approves toll tariffs for Gauteng Freeway”, Cabinet statement, 11 August 2011]
11 August 2011 – The South African Vehicle and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) says it is not convinced that the urban tolling model is the most efficient and cost effective. “ An independent transport regulator should have been in place at the beginning of this process to ensure that there is reasonable oversight and due administrative process. In its absence, the fact that, in Gauteng we will be expected to pay R6,2bn to collect approximately R20bn, a collection cost of 30% over five years without any real transparency of the real costs involved is reason alone for grave concern,” said SAVRALA. [SAVRALA statement, “Government clearly desperate to implement at any cost”, 11 August 2011]
22 August 2011 – Minister of Transport tells Parliament that the estimated budget for GFIP Phase I is R22.7bn excl VAT or R25.9bn incl VAT. [Written reply, question 2001, 22 August 2011]
23 October 2011 – Minister of Transport instructs SANRAL to postpone the e-tolls. [SANRAL chronology, OUTA appeal on e-tolls.]
27 October 2011 – SANRAL announces that e-tolling will start in February 2012. [SANRAL chronology, OUTA appeal on e-tolls.]
November 2011 – Public hearings on e-tolls. [News24, “E-tolls timeline”, 2 December 2013]
1 November 2011 – Ministry of Transport clarifies the Minister’s statement of 23 October, saying that GFIP Phase I is almost complete and the Ministry wants to hear alternative views from the public on the best model for financing the debt, and that GFIP Phase II will not commence until all consultative processes have been exhausted. [Polity, “Statement by the Department of Transport, on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project e-tolling”, 1 November 2011]
7 November 2011 – SANRAL commences e-toll registration. [SANRAL chronology, SCA case 2012]
13 January 2012 – SANRAL says e-tolling will not start in February 2012 as planned. [Arrive Alive, “SANRAL says e-tolling in Gauteng will not start in February”, 13 January 2012]
22 February 2012 – Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan says in his Budget speech that the total GFIP debt is R20bn, and that a special appropriation of R5.8bn is made in the 2011/12 expenditure, to reduce the debt to be repaid through the toll system and thus reduce the toll burden.
9 March 2012 – National Treasury tells Parliament that an additional allocation of R5.75bn is being provided to SANRAL in 2011/12 to pay towards GFIP debt, and that the total debt for the GFIP phase 1 was R20bn, which SANRAL raised through the bond market, and of which R19bn is guaranteed by government. GFIP Phase 1 is 185km and has been completed. The note also recommends increasing SANRAL’s debt from R58.42bn to R59bn, reducing e-toll fees, capping toll fees at R550 per month. “The reduction of the tariffs with the R5.75 billion fiscal support will result in a maximum debt level of R59 billion in 2021/22 and for the debt to be paid off by 2033/34.” [9 March 2012, National Treasury, "Supporting Note on the Additional Adjustment Appropriation Bill (2011/12 financial year), 2012", presented to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations]
12 March 2012 – The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) is established. It is a voluntary association set up to prevent the tolling by SANRAL of the seven Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project roads. The members of OUTA include the South African Vehicle and Leasing Association (SAVRALA, which represents 22 companies), the Automobile Association, 94 other businesses and 1831 individual supporters [SCA judgment of 9 October 2013]. SAVRALA announces the formation of OUTA as an alliance to unite action against e-tolling. [SAVRALA, “Alliance formed in opposition to urban tolling”, 14 March 2012]
23 March 2012 – OUTA, SAVRALA, QuadPara and the SA Consumer Union file an application in the Pretoria High Court to overturn the decisions to declare the Gauteng freeways as toll roads and to declare the e-tolls unlawful. The court dismissed this application on 13 December 2012, and the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed OUTA’s appeal on 9 October 2013. [ OUTA’s founding affidavit of 23 March 2012 is here . The high court judgment is here and the SCA judgment is here.]
26 March 2012 – The Additional Adjustment Appropriation Act (2011/12 financial year), 2012 contains an additional allocation of R5.75 billion for paying GFIP debt; this is used to reduce the tariffs. [Act published in Government Gazette no. 35184 of 26 March 2012]
27 March 2012 – Minister of Transport issues the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act Regulations 2012. Among other things, the regulations allow traffic officers to question drivers as to whether they have paid tolls and tell them to pay or stop using toll roads. [Department of Transport, Notice no. R.252, Government Gazette 35182 of 27 March 2012]
13 April 2012 – Department of Transport DG George Mahlalela publishes the GFIP tolls, payable from 30 April 2012. [Department of Transport, Notice no. 310, Government Gazette no. 35263 of 13 April 2012]
18 April 2012 – Department of Transport announces that public transport and emergency vehicles will be exempted from GFIP tolls. This is in the Draft First Amendment to the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Regulations (Exemptions from Payment of Tolls), 2012. [Department of Transport, Notice no. 338, Government Gazette no. 35148 of 18 April 2012]
18 April 2012 – Department of Transport publishes the GFIP conditions for toll, which lists centres for paying e-tolls. [Department of Transport, Notice no. 320, Government Gazette no. 35271 of 18 April 2012]
18 April 2012 – National Treasury says in papers in the Pretoria High Court case brought by OUTA to stop the e-tolls that the total debt incurred by SANRAL to fund the GFIP first phase was R20 billion, with R19bn of this guaranteed by government, and this was procured by issuing bonds, which are effectively repayable loans. [Affidavit by Andrew Donaldson, para 22]
23 April 2012 – National Treasury announces that Cabinet has decided to make R5.72bn available to the GFIP, to allow the average toll charge per km to be reduced. Implementation is still due to start on 30 April 2012. [National Treasury statement, 23 April 2012]
24 to 26 April 2012 – The e-tolls case is argued in the Pretoria High Court.
26 April 2012 – The Minister of Transport postpones the start of e-tolls, which had been due to start on 30 April. This is the fifth postponement of the proposed tolling. [Referred to in Pretoria High Court judgment on the interim interdict in the e-tolls case of 28 April 2012]
28 April 2012 – Pretoria High Court grants OUTA an urgent interim order blocking the switching on of the e-tolls, pending the outcome of OUTA’s application for a review of the legality of the e-tolls. The interim order is here. SANRAL and the Treasury appealed this in the Constitutional Court and, on 20 September 2012, the Concourt overturned this interim order but did not interfere with the review. OUTA ultimately lost the review application in December 2012.
30 April 2012 – GFIP tolls were due to be switched on, with reduced tariffs for vehicles with e-tags; this was blocked by the high court interdict of 28 April 2012. [Statement on Cabinet meeting of 22 February 2012]
22 May 2012 – Treasury files an application to appeal the interim interdict granted by the Pretoria High Court in the Constitutional Court.
31 May 2012 – Minister of Transport S’bu Ndebele withdraws the GFIP tariffs gazette on 13 April 2012. [Department of Transport, Notice no. 451, Government Gazette no. 35402 of 31 May 2012]
5 June 2012 – SANRAL CEO Nazir Alli withdraws the conditions for toll notice (notice no. 320 of 18 April 2012). [SANRAL, Notice 438, Government Gazette no. 35421 of 5 June 2012]
15 August 2012 – Constitutional Court hears argument in the e-tolls case.
20 September 2012 – The Constitutional Court overturns the interim order suspending the e-tolls. The interim order was granted by the Pretoria High Court to OUTA et al on 28 April 2012 pending the outcome of a review of the legality of e-tolls; the respondents SANRAL et al appealed this interim order directly to the Concourt and it was overturned before the review was finalised.
25 October 2012 – The Department of Transport issues draft regulations on exempting public transport and emergency vehicle from paying tolls, for public comment. [Department of Transport, Notice no. R. 803, Government Gazette no. 35755 of 25 October 2012]
25 October 2012 – SANRAL publishes GFIP toll tariffs for public comment. [SANRAL, notice no. 801, Government Gazette no. 35756 of 25 October 2012]
25 October 2012 – SANRAL publishes call for comment on exemptions from GFIP tolls for public transport and emergency vehicles. [SANRAL, notice no. 802, Government Gazette no. 35756 of 25 October 2012]
25 October 2012 – SANRAL publishes conditions for toll, which lists centres for paying e-tolls. [SANRAL, notice no. 803, Government Gazette no. 35756 of 25 October 2012]
26 October 2012 – Minister of Transport Ben Martins announces that the Cabinet has decided that e-tolls will go ahead.
13 December 2012 – Pretoria High Court dismisses application by OUTA, SAVRALA, QuadPara and the SA Consumer Union to declare the e-tolls illegal, and awards costs against OUTA et al. The judgment is here.
25 January 2013 – Pretoria High Court grants OUTA et al leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal against the December ruling on e-tolls.
24 May 2013 – Department of Transport publishes draft GFIP tolls for public comment. [Department of Transport, notice no. 534, Government Gazette no. 36479 of 24 May 2013]
23 September 2013 – The appeal by OUTA et al against Pretoria High Court judgment on e-tolls is heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
26 September 2013 – The Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Act is gazetted. This is the "e-tolls law" which includes toll-related matters and excludes tolls from the ambit of the National Credit Act. [Government Gazette no. 36878 of 26 September 2013]
9 October 2013 – Supreme Court of Appeal dismisses the appeal by OUTA and others against the high court’s dismissal of the e-toll review case, but reverses the costs order against OUTA. The judgment is here.
9 October 2013 – President proclaims the commencement of the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Act, 2013, from 9 October 2013 (the e-tolls law). [Proclamation No. R. 44, 2013, Government Gazette no. 36911 of 9 October 2013]
9 October 2013 – Department of Transport issues the following regulations in terms of the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act: the E-Road Regulations; the Specification Regulations; the Regulations on Exemptions from the Payment of Tolls; and the Regulations in Terms of the National Road Traffic Act. [Department of Transport, notices no. R. 739, no. R. 740, no. R. 741 and no. R. 758, Government Gazette no. 36911 of 9 October 2013]
9 October 2013 – Department of Transport and SANRAL publish for public comment the GFIP tariffs. [Department of Transport, notice no. 1006, Government Gazette no. 36912 of 9 October 2013]
23 October 2013 – Minister of Transport S’bu Ndebele announces he has instructed SANRAL to halt all processes relating to tolling of national roads, to enable public consultation. [Polity, “Statement by the Department of Transport, on the suspension of the Gauteng toll roads”, 23 October 2011]
29 October 2013 – The Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa call e-tolls “extortion”. Without directly calling for a boycott of e-tolls, the bishops asked Catholics to show solidarity in opposing them. [The Southern Cross, “ Bishops: e-tolls are ‘extortion’ ”, 29 October 2013]
19 November 2013 – Department of Transport publishes the following notices: the e-toll tariffs, with effect from 3 December 2013; the Conditions for Payment of e-tolls; and the Exemption from the Payment of Toll for emergency and public transport vehicles. [Department of Transport, notice no. R.887, notice no. R. 888, and notice no. R 889, Government Gazette no. 37038 of 19 November 2013]
19 November 2013 – Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters says SANRAL has 1 427 900 unsold e-tags out of 2 107 000 procured over the last three year. [Sapa, published in Mail & Guardian, “Sanral with 1.4m unsold e-tags despite pricey ad campaign”, 19 November 2013]
20 November 2013 – Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters announces that e-tolls will start on 3 December 2013. [News24, “E-tolls timeline”, 2 December 2013] [Mail & Guardian, “E-toll system to go live on December 3”, 20 November 2013]
3 December 2013 – Tolling starts on GFIP. [Cabinet statement, 20 November 2013] The three ETC e-toll collection contracts were pegged to timelines from this date: the Open Road Tolling (ORT) contract was for eight years (ending December 2021), and the Transaction Clearing House (TCH) contract and the Violation Processing Centre (VPC) were each for five years (to 2 December 2018) with options to renew for a further two years (to 2 December 2020). [Contract lengths in parliamentary reply RNW319 of 6 March 2017]
14 January 2014 – The Presidency reacts to public anger over the switch-on of the e-tolls with a statement saying that the system is necessary to pay off the SANRAL bonds. [The Presidency, “E-tolls are part of a broader infrastructure programme”, 17 January 2014]
12 May 2014 – Department of Transport extends the grace period discount for GFIP users who pay and register. [Department of Transport, notice no. 360, Government Gazette no. 37637 of 12 May 2014]
4 July 2014 - Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters tells Parliament that unpaid e-toll bills may not be used to refuse motorists permission to renew their motor vehicle licences, as outstanding e-toll accounts are not described as infringements in the Service Level Agreement with the Department of Transport. [Reply to Parliament RNW416, 4 July 2014]
15 January 2015 – Gauteng Premier David Makhura releases the Report of the Advisory Panel on the Socio-economic Impact of the GFIP and e-Tolls. The panel handed the report to the Premier on 30 November 2014 and the Premier tabled it before the provincial executive council on 8 December 2014. [Gauteng Provincial Government, “Gauteng Provincial Executive Council on report of advisory panel on impact of GFIP and e-Tolls”, 15 January 2015. The summary of recommendations is here and the panel's full report is here.]
20 May 2015 – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa announces a new dispensation on e-tolls, which will start on 1 July 2015. This includes a reduced tariff, the reduction of the monthly cap to R225 a month for cars, a discount of 60% on outstanding fees, and no charge for motorists who make less than 30 gantry passes in a year. Those who do not pay within 30 days will be charged double. “ The significant reduction in tariffs and the new monthly caps will result in an annual estimated shortfall of R390 million in revenue to service the debt. This shortfall will be shared between national government and the Gauteng provincial government,” said Ramaphosa. [Statement by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on the new dispensation for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, 20 May 2015] SANRAL’s explanation of the new dispensation is here.
17 June 2015 – Publication of toll tariffs with effect from 2 July 2015 [Government Gazette no. 38884 of 17 June 2015], with a correction on 1 July 2015 [Government Gazette no. 38949 of 1 July 2015], a correction on 24 July 2015 to e-toll time-of-day discounts [Government Gazette no. 39027 of 24 July 2015] and a correction on 16 October 2015 [Government Gazette no. 39298 of 16 October 2015].
September 2015 – SANRAL begins to send notices of intention to summons e-toll defaulters.
October 2015 – OUTA launches its E-Toll Defence Umbrella public funding strategy to defend those summonsed for failure to pay e-tolls through using its own legal team to build mandated cases for each individual summonsed.
21 October 2015 – Department of Transport sets the dates for a once-off 60% discount on outstanding e-tolls as 2 November 2015 to 2 May 2016, for unpaid e-tolls incurred up to and including 31 August 2015. [Government Gazette no.39306 of 21 October 2015]
18 February 2016 – OUTA’s name is changed to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, and its mandate expanded to tackle government corruption and maladministration.
26 February 2016 – SANRAL publishes e-toll tariffs and rebates, with effect from 12 March 2016. [Government Gazette no. 39754 of 26 February 2016]
11 March 2016 – Department of Transport issues a correction to e-toll tariffs, slightly lowering them. [Government Gazette no. 39812 of 11 March 2016]
5 August 2016 – Department of Transport publishes exemptions from and rebates on e-tolls. [Government Gazette no. 40189 of 5 August 2016]
17 August 2016 – Electronic Toll Collections (ETC) becomes fully owned by the Austrian company Kapsch, after divesting its BEE partner in TMT Services and Supplies. [New24, published on Politicsweb, “E-tolls collection firm no longer in SA hands”, 17 August 2016]
24 November 2016 – The Department of Transport issues the E-Road Regulations, in terms of the SANRAL and National Roads Act. [Government Gazette no. 40442 of 24 November 2016]
3 December 2016 – OUTA believes that unpaid e-toll debts which have not been transferred to legal claims start prescribing from this date (three years after e-tolls went live). Debt prescribes if, during the past three years, the consumer did not admit to owing on the debt either verbally or in writing, did not make payment, and the complainant did not take legal action.
19 December 2016 – SANRAL publishes exemptions from e-tolls for public transport. And emergency vehicles. [Government Gazette no. 40508 of 19 December 2016]
16 February 2017 – Department of Transport publishes annual e-toll tariff increases, with effect from 3 March 2017. [Government Gazette no. 40623 of 16 February 2017]
3 April 2017 – SANRAL and ETC agree to amend the three e-toll contracts (Open Road Tolling, Transaction Clearing House and Violations Processing Centre) to all run for six years, all ending on 2 December 2019, with an option to extend by a further 12 or 24 months, effectively extending the contract to seven or eight years. [ETC statement, 11 December 2018]
10 May 2017 – OUTA serves SANRAL with responding pleas to summonses issued to OUTA’s contributing supporters for outstanding e-toll payments. This is expected to become the test case for challenging the legality of the e-tolls. The matter is SANRAL’s action against Thandanani Truckers and Hauliers in the Pretoria High Court. SANRAL served Thandanani with a summons for R402 841 in unpaid e-toll fees, run up from January 2014 to August 2015. [OUTA statement, “Gloves are off as OUTA files e-toll court papers”, 11 May 2017]
1 September 2017 – Department of Transport amends the exemptions from e-tolls for public transport. [Government Gazette no. 41085 of 1 September 2017]
28 March 2018 – Department of Transport publishes the annual increase in GFIP e-toll tariffs, with effect from 12 April 2018. [Government Gazette no. 41545 of 28 March 2018]
30 August 2018: Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande says Gauteng's e-tolls are needed to pay SANRAL's debt of R67bn; OUTA points out that this is SANRAL's entire debt for all the toll roads, not just the GFIP, and also questions how this amount jumped from the R47bn which the previous minister told Parliament about in November 2017. [OUTA, "Minister Nzimande is confused on e-toll funding", 31 August 2018]
1 February 2019 – Department of Transport publishes the annual increases in GFIP e-toll tariffs, with effect from 1 March 2019. [Government Gazette no. 42209 of 1 February 2019]
SANRAL passes an urgent resolution at a board meeting stating that it will no longer pursue criminal action against motorists with outstanding e-toll debt. “It resolved that given the initiative led by President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the e-tolls payment impasse, SANRAL will, with immediate effect, suspend the process of pursuing e-toll debt. This includes historic debt and summonses applied for from 2015. No new summonses will be applied for,” said SANRAL. ; SANRAL statement, SANRAL’s board passes resolution on e-toll summonses , 27 March 2019
7 February 2020 – Department of Transport’s annual increase in GFIP tolls with effect from 1 March 2020. [Department of Transport notice no. 114, Government Gazette no. 43002 of 7 February 2020]
16 November 2020 – Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula signs a performance agreement with President Cyril Ramaphosa that includes a requirement to implement the user-pay principle, as part of increasing access to affordable and reliable transport systems.
- Intervention: Develop strategy for the implementation of the user-pay principle.
- Indicator: Compliance to the user-pay principle.
- Baseline: New target
- Target: “100% compliance with user pay principle by 2024.”
- Minister’s responsibility: “Ensure users pay for services rendered.”
2 December 2020 – SANRAL’s original e-tolls collection contract with Electronic Toll Collections (ETC) was supposed to expire today after the maximum of two single-year extensions. However, SANRAL had in mid-2017 quietly rewritten the contract to allow it to run until 2 December 2021. SANRAL confirmed the extension of the contract. [SANRAL statement, 2 December 2020]
Replies to Parliament with information on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP)
28 March 2011: RNW328: GFIP total cost was R19.23bn excluding VAT (including road construction of R16.9bn including CPA excluding VAT). This does not include financing costs.
22 August 2011: RNW2001: GFIP total cost was R22.7bn excl VAT.
15 March 2012: RNW172: List of applicants who pre-qualified for the tender process for e-toll operator, for these contracts: Road Side System; Open Road Tolling Back Office; Transaction Clearing House; Violation Processing Centre; Main Contractor.
23 April 2012: RCW141: Projected annual toll revenue for GFIP (assuming tolling starts 30 April 2012): R1.0184bn for 2013 FY; R2.4945bn for 2014FY. Plus collection costs and maintenance and improvement of roads costs.
14 September 2012: RNW1859: The Electronic Toll Collections (ETC) 33 sub-contractors are named.
1 April 2014: RNW333: Total revenue transferred to the Violations Processing Centre as at 28 February 2014 was R543 544 574, of which R50 043 487 has been paid.
1 April 2014: RNW339: Revenue transferred to the Violations Processing Centre.
4 July 2014: RNW416: Unpaid e-toll bills may not be used to refuse motorists permission to renew their motor vehicle licences, as outstanding e-toll accounts are not described as infringements in the Service Level Agreement with the Department of Transport.
25 July 2014: RNW404: In the first six months of e-toll operations, there were 1 134 834 users on the roads, with non-registered users owing R156 623 567 for more than 90 days.
17 September 2014: RNW1131: SANRAL says it has laid charges with the Hawks in connection with overcharging by construction companies.
13 October 2014: RNW1288: There are 104 377 licences for taxis issued between 2002 and 2014, including 26 590 in Gauteng.
9 December 2014: RNW3030: As of 30 September 2014, there were 1 254 502 active e-toll accounts and 93 292 accounts de-registered; there are about 2.5 million users of GFIP per month. Cash receipts for the first 10 months of operations: R994 765 564.24 (monthly breakdown provided).
March 2015: RNW226: Work packages and contractors.
24 March 2015: RNW580: Construction companies which had SANRAL contracts which were implicated in collusion over construction costs.
30 July 2015: RNW2610: Effect of the "new dispensation" announced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on e-toll collections (graphs only).
11 August 2015: RNW2554: Issue of whether e-toll invoices should contain the road user's VAT number.
12 August 2015: RNW2749: Issuing of certificates of compliance to the contractor for the Open Road Tolling, the Transaction Clearing House, and the Violation Processing Centre, and payments to the contractor up to December 2013.
23 May 2016: RNW1364: SANRAL has issued summonses to 5449 individuals and 837 businesses for outstanding e-tolls, for amounts from R204.75 to R10 551 548.16.
21 November 2016: RNW2496: Minister of Transport: "There is no decision to cancel e-tolling which is part of the User Pay Policy... It is not true that the e-tolling of the GFIP is unsuccessful in its implementation, we need to address the issue of civil disobedience and allow law enforcement agencies to play their part."
6 March 2017: RNW319: The e-toll contracts.
5 June 2017: RNW1328: Compliance rates by motorists on e-toll bills. "The compliance rate for February 2017, based on rand value, was 29%." Outstanding debt for 2016/17 is still being calculated, but outstanding debt (trade receivables, for unregistered users) was R7.206bn.
5 June 2017: RNW1329: Recovery of outstanding e-toll debt "will be embarked upon once all the prescribed legal processes have been followed". The vehicle owners are liable for the debt. Both registered and non-registered users will be pursued for debt.
5 June 2017: RNW1330: Since e-tolls started on 3 December 2013, ETC has been paid R2.22bn for "full toll operations", including R528.81m paid via ETC to other service providers on the project. This is for 42 months (December 2013 to May 2017).
20 June 2017: RNW1515: From November 2016 to June 2017, 199 729 e-toll accounts were registered. On dealing with civil disobedience: "SANRAL, as the Agency responsible for National Roads and the GFIP is currently issuing civil summonses to thousands of debtors. Some of these matters are far advanced and several court cases are foreseen shortly that will clarify the legal obligation to pay toll for the GFIP toll-roads. This is an ongoing process."
10 July 2017: RNW2003: The businesses contracted to provide and maintain e-tags are named as Kapsch Trafficom AB (Sweden), which was paid R167.221m excl VAT, and Q-Free ASA (Norway), which was paid R58.318m excl VAT. The cost of printing and posting invoices for e-toll collection as per SARS and AARTO requirements was R327.391m (December 2013 to May 2017).
19 September 2017: RNW2767: Payments to the e-toll contractor: from October 2009 to August 2017, a total of R3.840bn. It is projected the contractor will be paid R645m for 2017/18. "The current e-toll operations contract comes to an end in December 2019 and has an option to be extended for a further 2 years."
23 November 2017: RNW3540: Number and locations of e-toll offices, number of staff and office hours.
23 November 2017: RNW3557: Minister of Transport: "The current e-toll operations contract comes to an end in December 2019 and has an option to be extended for a further two years."
28 February 2018: RNW298: Gillooly's interchange.
22 March 2018: RNW675: No decision yet on the future of GFIP.
4 June 2018: RNW1524: E-toll collections by month for April 2017 to March 2018 (12 months): total of R725.82m. Costs of collection (payments to toll collector) for 2017/18 were R643m. "It should be noted these payments include the payments made to the toll operator related to the processing and clearing of all electronic toll transactions nationally (R2 770 million)."
25 September 2018: RNW2673: Number of summonses issued for outstanding e-tolls from April 2015 to August 2018 and related collections.
25 September 2018: RNW2674: List of issuing attorneys for summonses issued by SANRAL for e-tolls.
8 November 2018: RNW3041: E-toll forecast and actual income since December 2013, number of e-tags, costs of summonses. E-toll debtors have increased from R951m in 2014 to R10.840bn in 2018.
5 December 2018: RNW3489: Total e-toll transactions per month (December 2013 to August 2018), total paid transactions and percentage of transactions which were paid (ie compliance) (ranges from 27% to 43%; the last three months were 27%).
6 December 2018: RNW3411: Freeway Management Services has 63 vehicles provided on the GFIP (beakdown of vehicle types).
10 April 2019: RNW681: The length of ETC's three contracts (Open Road Tolling, Transaction Clearing House, and Violation Processing Centre) were changed, so all three are now six years (from 3 December 2013).
6 August 2019: RNW307: GFIP and the R5.75bn allocation of 2018/19, and the SANRAL loans.
9 October 2019: RNW934: As at 31 March 2019, SANRAL had R39.5bn of debt guaranteed by national government.
25 November 2019: RNW1401: Minister of Finance: "Borrowing for toll roads are done on the basis that there is a revenue stream to finance the debt. A significant portion of the South African National Roads Agency's existing debt was to finance the upgrade of roads on GFIP and it requires a revenue stream to finance it, so e-tolls cannot be abolished without a revenue stream to finance existing commitments."
11 August 2020: RNW1733: SANRAL loans.
11 August 2020: RNW1734: SANRAL has 11 toll roads, with all except the GFIP self-funding. The GFIP operating cost shortfall over the past three years was R263m.
26 August 2020: RNW1023: Department of Transport has started exploratory work towards a Public Transport Mobility Account that will operate with an Integrated Ticketing System based on a cashless system. SANRAL is being engaged to be a lead agency on this.
Other reports on GFIP
Barry Standish and Antony Boting, prepared for the Gauteng provincial government and SANRAL.
Cassandra C Gabriel, University of South Africa.
Richard Bennet, 2011, Innovations for Successful Societies, Princeton University, http://successfulsocieties.princeton.edu/
PA Pienaar, University of Pretoria.
Alex van Niekerk, SANRAL.
South African Local Government Association (SALGA).
This is the report of the Advisory Panel appointed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
30 November 2014.
Francois J Stofberg and Jan H van Heerden, Economic Research Southern Africa.
Thesis by Philip Parrock towards a Master of Arts degree at Stellenbosch University.
By Wayne Duvenage with Angelique Serrao.
Book published June 2015.
By Leanne Lauren Manley and Melanie Gopaul.
NS Matsiliza, Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Nthatisi Khatleli. Proceedings of the 32nd annual ARCOM conference, September 2016, Manchester, UK.
January 2019. A minor dissertation by Collins Kwadi towards a Master of Engineering degree at the University of Johannesburg.
By the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA).
Selected speeches and statements (2010-2019) by Dr Ismail Vadi, former Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport.
31 January 2020.
The GFIP gantries
The ongoing legal challenge and the E-Toll Defence Umbrella
OUTA contributing supporters who wish to challenge e-toll summonses from SANRAL may join the E-Toll Defence Umbrella.