Motorists owe R7.5 billion in unpaid e-tolls, and very few have taken up the current discount offer.
Souht African National Roads Agency Limited spokesman Vusi Mona said the total outstanding debt was R7.495 billion, which is all the debt owed since the e-tolls were implemented in December 2013 until the end of February 2016. That’s an average of R278 million a month in unpaid bills.
Sanral has begun issuing civil summonses for debt, which have been criticised as not legally enforceable by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse and as “social harassment” by Cosatu.
The total owed includes the historic debt owed up to the end of August 2015 and on which Sanral is offering debtors a 60 percent discount if it’s paid by 2 May.
“The historic debt book is already discounted by 60 percent in these numbers,” said Mona.
He did not provide a breakdown for the historic debt and the debt run-up since September 2015.
Mona said the total collected was R454 million, with 7.8 percent of this linked to payments under the 60 percent discount offer.
That 7.8 percent is about R35 million.
While it’s not clear how much of the total owed is historic debt, that R35 million is less than one percent of the total R7.5 billion owed, which indicates that only a fraction of indebted motorists have taken advantage of the discount offer.
Sanral’s explanation of the R454 million collection number was unclear and could not be clarified on Wednesday but it presumably refers to all collections since September, as Parliament was previously told by the Ministry of Transport that R995 million was collected in the first 10 months of operations.
“Sanral is currently collecting R80 million to R90 million in e-toll revenue per month, up from R60 million around August/September 2015,” said Mona.
“Less than 20 percent of defaulting road users contacted for collection flatly refuse to pay and an increasing number are making use of the 60 percent discount offer.”
Sanral is expecting a last-minute rush.
“Kindly note that collection can only be measured after the discount period ends, as many are waiting until the last minute to take up the offer,” Mona said.