“It is, however, noted that the settlement at 5 per cent of the estimated ZAR30 billion (US$3 billion) in project value, falls well short of the 10 per cent of [the] turnover guideline without adjusting for inflation since around 2009,” said OUTA in a statement.
“Reports further indicate that the collusive behavior impacted the construction of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), which SANRAL (South African National Roads Agency Limited) now plans to toll in order to fund these costly upgrades.”
OUTA thus called upon the Competition Commission to make available the documents pertaining to the extent of the collusion on the GFIP.
Furthermore, OUTA suggested a part of the ZAR1.4 billion (US$140 million) be allocated towards SANRAL’s GFIP repayment because OUTA believes the public should not have to bear the burden of “past collusive pricing, into the future”.
“OUTA has also noted the lack of response, to date, from SANRAL who we would have expected to be outraged by the collusive behaviour related to the GFIP projects. One wonders how SANRAL, who are supposed to be experts at road construction pricing, allowed such collusive behaviour to go unnoticed or unchallenged at the time of the GFIP tender process,” said OUTA.
OUTA said its decision followed the revelation of Kapsch TrafficCom’s forecasted annual earnings of US$67.6 million through its share in e-toll collection services, which, according to OUTA, is 40 per cent of the estimated costs to society for e-toll collection.
“OUTA wished to remind SANRAL and its spokesperson Mr Vusi Mona that the e-toll decision by the [Constitutional] Court in September 2012 overturned only the interdict against SANRAL to launch e-tolling, which is a completely separate legal matter to the merits of the decision to proceed with e-tolling, which will be tested at the Supreme Court of Appeal in September this year,” said OUTA.
Wayne Duvenage, chairperson of OUTA, said he was saddened to see SANRAL’s integrity as a respected state-owned entity being tarnished over the last few years, which has led to the GFIP process incurring high costs, irrational decisions being made and lacking transparency.
“We are hopeful that OUTA’s Supreme Court of Appeal hearing in three month’s time, will finally demonstrate the shocking extent of this matter which has been nothing short of a sheer lack of respect for the citizens of this country,” he said.