E-tolls collection firm no longer in SA hands

Cape Town - The company collecting payments for the contentious e-toll system in Gauteng is now fully owned by the Austrian conglomerate Kapsch.

This was confirmed on Tuesday with the divestment of the only BEE partner in TMT Services & Supplies, which with Kapsch Trafficom made up the e-tolls collections company Electronic Toll Collections (ETC). 

TMT Services & Supplies has confirmed that its current empowerment partners will be divesting as one of the shareholders in the company after a long-term involvement, the statement read.

This was also underlined in the latest financial report of Kapsch Trafficom for the year ending March 2015/16, which showed that Kapsch gained full control of ETC after acquiring three Cape Town-based firms TMT Services and Supplies, Berrydust 51 and Mobiserve.

Kapsch, through TMT, won the R6.2bn tender from the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) for the design and operation of the e-toll system in Gauteng in 2010.

Matemeku Investments with a 51% shareholding was the main BEE shareholder in TMT, a level 2 B-BBEE company. However, in 2010, Matemeku chairperson Moss Mashishi sold 57% of the company to Kapsch for more than R70m and on Tuesday TMT announced Matemeku was fully divesting from TMT.

Kapsch said in a joint statement with TMT on Tuesday that the exit plan of the minority shareholders had always been included in the agreements between Kapsch and TMT when the initial investment in South Africa was formulated six years ago, and while the agreements between the parties have been concluded, the execution of the deal is still subject to fulfilment of conditions precedent.

Mashishi said: “Over 13 years ago we invested in a small company whose growth and achievements have more than met our business objectives and have given us excellent returns.”

Wayne Duvenage, chairperson of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), expressed concern over the fact that South Africa's e-tolls collections company is completely in foreign control.

"What started out as a majority local BBBEE inspired ownership of the ETC company, who was awarded the contract to collect the e-toll revenues, has now turned out to become a 100% foreign owned company whose profits will be taken off-shore," he told Fin24.  

He said that in short, a foreign organisation is making money out of South African citizens who need to travel on their own roads to get to work.  

"This is just another diabolical situation that has been allowed to develop from this farcical situation presented to us, courtesy of Sanral and our Department of Transport."

An excerpt from Kapsch Trafficom's 2015/2016 Annual Financial Report showing full control of all South African subsidiaries.

TMT said it has already initiated plans to revise its structure to develop a broader-based empowerment structure.  
 
Kapsch has confirmed the appointment of Douglas Davey, one of the founders and original shareholders of TMT, as the managing director for the sub-Saharan region, which includes South Africa.

Referring to the Kapsch investment, Davey said in the statement that he was excited by the opportunity presented, which will see a South African-based operation providing a springboard for developing regional markets in the transport solutions sector. 

He said this will enable the company to build on the current 1 400 jobs in South Africa in anticipation of the expansion.
 
“This is an ongoing further direct investment in South Africa and we are delighted to be participating in future growth within the country and the surrounding region,” said Kapsch TrafficCom chief operating officer Andre Laux.

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