National

E-toll contractor denies shady dealing with arms deal company

Sapa

Kapsch TrafficCom, the company contracted to the e-toll system, has denied it had improper dealings with Swedish companies involved in the arms deal.

A toll gate on the N1 South in Johannesburg (Werner Beukes, SAPA)

The company’s executive board member Andre Laux denied that it had improper dealings with arms manufacturing company, SAAB &ndas; which admitted in June to paying bribes of more than R24-million to ensure it was picked to supply Gripen jets to South Africa in the arms deal.

“We firmly reject any speculation linking Kapsch TrafficCom and the arms deals. We believe this allegation is the result of a simple misinterpretation of information regarding one of our subsidiary companies,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

Kapsch said it had bought Swedish Combitech, a daughter company of SAAB, in 2000. The company was a specialist in e-tolling and traffic solutions, and offered “a perfect match to Kapsch’s traffic business-line”.

“This is the only link between our Swedish subsidiary and the project in South Africa,” said Laux.

Unjustly enriched
The company welcomed the announcement of a preliminary investigation into the e-toll contracts by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

The investigation was announced on Friday after complaints were lodged by Democratic Alliance MP Jack Bloom, director for the Institute for Accountability in SA Paul Hoffman and the recently resigned chief executive of the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) Nazir Alli.

Bloom said the country needed “to know if any high-level politician was unjustly enriched in this process.”

Alli resigned on Monday, just over a week after the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) was granted an urgent interdict to stop the launch of the system.

The project has since been put on hold.—Sapa

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