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In 2007, South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) decided to introduce a radical and advanced urban tolling system called the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP). The project entailed the expansion of the province's single-direction three-lane highways to single-direction five-lane routes. Large toll gantries were to be built in order to process usage data as a means of billing users electronically via a strict user pay system. Public reaction to the introduction of the open-road tolling (e-tolls) was decidedly negative, despite the support generated by a public participation process. The announcement led to an outcry from a combination of road users, politicians and trade unions. This led to poor compliance by travelers. Road users made only 30% of required monthly payments. This negatively affected SANRAL's credit rating and resulted in SANRAL's slippage as a favorite among bond investors. In this case, both the current project manager for the GFIP, Alex, and his mentor, Nazir (the CEO), feel as if they are being boxed in from all sides. One side is pushing hard to get the development of the GFIP project completed, and the other is mounting growing pressure to stop it. Worse still, all the different parties have their own reasons for being either for or against the project, making it seem nearly impossible to create a compromise that will be acceptable to everyone involved.
The case presents an exercise in the application of a stakeholders map. It is suitable for use in MBAs and other programs that apply design thinking techniques.