E-toll disaster even bigger than initially thought

Gauteng’s e-toll system is such a disaster that it does not even cover its operating expenses. This is according to FF Plus parliamentary spokesperson on transport Anton Alberts.

Alberts based his statement on statistics on e-toll finances which the FF Plus obtained in a response to parliamentary questions.

Alberts said deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s concessions, such as a 60% discount on accounts in arrears, only resulted in a slight increase in revenue for three months.

“The lifeline of R700 million that deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa handed e-tolls in June of this year has hardly had any effect before the e-toll ship started sinking again,” said Alberts.

He said that in September 2015, income from e-tolls declined sharply again – and an operational loss of R6 million for the month was registered.

The project’s total debt amounts to more than R20 billion at present, and not enough money is being made through e-tolls to cover its current expenses every month.

“These losses alone amount to nearly R35 million this year.”

“Where R20 billion will be coming from… to pay for yet another ANC debacle is a mystery. And in the meantime the debt is growing daily.”

Government’s changing numbers

Alberts said a graphic projection, which was part of the reply and which shows real income and projected income, differs sharply with that of a previous version which was provided to the FF Plus in May.

“Various ‘adjustments’ were made from October 2014, and it is a clear attempt to create the impression that projections are reasonably accurate and had even been relatively conservative,” said Alberts.

He said the graphs of May show that projections are inaccurate and over-optimistic.

“One such example is March of this year, where the projections had been R175 million more than the real income figures – approximately R66 million in real income as opposed to a projected income of R240 million.”

“On the adjusted statistics, the projected income was not even R40 million, resulting in an adjustment of nearly R200 million.”

Alberts said it was an attempt by the government to cover up “with how much ignorance and dishonesty the project was undertaken”.

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E-toll disaster even bigger than initially thought