People want e-tolls to be scrapped

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People want e-tolls to be scrapped

The Gauteng government recently said it is confident that e-tolls will soon be no more.

“I have been assured by President Cyril Ramaphosa that a lasting solution has been found and an announcement by the President is imminent,” Gauteng Premier David Makhura said.

Gauteng roads and transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo agreed, saying he is expecting a ground-breaking announcement to be made regarding e-tolls.

The e-toll system has been extremely unpopular since its inception, and this has resulted in many Gauteng residents not paying their outstanding e-toll fees.

The e-toll system has a long and controversial history in South Africa since it was implemented in 2013 by Austrian company the Electronic Tolling Company (ETC), and the 7-year experiment is unlikely to be missed by many South Africans.

This is how the e-toll system has progressed from its inception to its current form.

December 2013
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced that the Gauteng e-toll system in Gauteng would go live on 3 December.

Nazir Alli, CEO of Sanral, said those who did not comply with paying toll fees would be prosecuted in the normal manner.

“We will follow a debt collection process. You will get a letter saying you must pay within seven days,” said Alli.

“If you then do not pay, then a first reminder and if need be, a second notice will be sent to you. If you then continue not to pay, only then will you be served a summons.”

March 2014
The DA announced it would go to court to have the law that allows e-tolling declared unconstitutional.

“We are of the view that the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill (e-tolling Bill) was incorrectly passed by Parliament and signed into law by President Jacob Zuma,” said spokesperson Mmusi Maimane.

The DA’s argument was that the law was incorrectly passed by the National Assembly as it was tagged as a Section 75 bill (debated in Parliament only) and not a Section 76 Bill (debated in Parliament and provinces).

However, this application was shot down by the Western Cape High Court.

This was due to the respondents’ arguments that the amendments had not made vital and substantial changes to provinces and had therefore been tagged correctly.

June 2014
Reports surfaced that the Gauteng government was relooking the e-toll project.

“We have had long discussions in the ANC Gauteng and in government…There is still dissatisfaction with the funding model,” Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi told the newspaper.

“We are taking a second look at the matter.”

Gauteng premier David Makhura confirmed that the e-tolling system would be reviewed in his State of the Province Address.

Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) chairperson Wayne Duvenage welcomed these comments and supported Vadi’s views that other funding models are more efficient ways to pay for road upgrades.

“The e-toll scheme comes at a huge administration cost – over R1.3bn per year – and will never achieve high compliance, as Sanral is now learning some six months after launching the scheme,” said Duvenage.

“Every day the fiasco continues is a burden to society.”

Wayne Duvenage
Wayne Duvenage

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