PARLIAMENT yesterday heard that the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) had so far collected $57 million in toll fees since 2013 when it entered into a joint management contract for toll plazas with Intertoll, a subsidiary of Group Five. BY VENERANDA LANGA
Source: $57 million toll fees collected since 2013 – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 16, 2016
Intertoll managing director Bridget Ledwaba, released the figures when she appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport chaired by Chegutu West legislator Dexter Nduna.
Intertoll operates nine of the 17 computerised tollgates in the country.
“Our largest toll plaza is Goromonzi followed by Norton and since we embarked on our contract with Zinara, our toll collection has been $57 million to date,” Ledwaba said.
“An amount of $5 million, which is 10% of the $57 million, was from exempted vehicles on transit, leaving only $51 million as payments that were banked,” she said.
Zinara acting chief executive officer Moses Juma said when they started tolling in 2009 they used manual systems on the 26 sites and averaged $1,2 million per month.
“We computerised 17 tollgates on a phased approach from 2016 with the last one opening in April last year, and from the nine tollgates operated by Intertoll, we got on average $2,1 million per month. These nine tollgates are 100% solar-powered and are international standard and the first in the world to operate on solar,” Juma said.
Ledwaba said pre-paid tolling was still at piloting stage with the pilot programme expected to begin today.
The committee questioned Juma on why the Plumtree-Beitbridge Road, which was recently refurbished at a cost of $206 million from a Development Bank of Southern Africa loan facility, was already showing cracks.
Juma conceded that 20% of the road sections had failed, but told the committee that he was generally satisfied with both the tolling and road infrastructure.
“Certain sections (20%) of the road had failed and needed total rehabilitation and 50% needed re-sealing. Overall, the contractor did a good job and we noted premature failure resulting in certain sections developing potholes and bleeding. It is part of the contract that there be monthly road inspections and immediate repairs by the contractor for a 10-year period,” Juma said.
MPs also grilled Ledwaba on the alleged dismissal of 25 Intertoll employees who were said to have prejudiced the nation of millions after wrong classification of vehicles like trucks, buses and ordinary cars resulting in some vehicles paying far less than they were supposed to pay.
“We suspended only seven employees in order to investigate after picking up that there was fraud taking place. We cannot say how much we were prejudiced, but we will give the committee the figure later when we ascertain it, but it is not a huge amount,” Ledwaba said.
She assured the committee that the tolling system was foolproof with four to five checks to ensure there were no financial leakages or manipulation, which includes a toll collector, cameras, automatic vehicle classifiers, supervisors, and a route operations manager who shows up at toll plazas at unexpected times.