E-tolls will be reviewed…again

Transport minister Joe Maswanganyi says that the South African government will review Gauteng’s e-toll policy, in the hopes that a better one can be found.

Speaking in an interview with eNCA, Maswanganyi said that the government was “a government that listens”.

“We understand that many people have issues with the tolling policy, so we are reviewing the tolling policy – not only e-tolls, the GFIP, but tolling in general,” he said.

“We want to come up with a tolling policy that our people will actually accept. We are not closing our ears to what people are saying – we are working with the government of Gauteng and with Sanral, and at the end of the day we believe we will come with a policy on tolling that will be acceptable.”

This would mark yet another review for the Gauteng e-toll system, after the Gauteng government launched the e-toll review committee in 2015, which saw a 60% discount offered on toll fees, and an extension of the grace period to pay discounted rates.

However, even with the discounts, Gauteng motorists have not bought into the system, with the latest data from Sanral showing that only about 30% of invoices generated to motorists who use Gauteng’s toll roads have been paid over a 24-month period.

Of the more than 1.8 billion invoices that were issued in the past 24 months, more than 1.3 billion (more than 71%) were unpaid.

According to civil action group Outa’s chairman, Wayne Duvenage, Maswanganyi needs to realise that the entire e-toll system has failed, and should move to a more successful funding mechanism like an increase in the fuel levy.

“The minister needs to make decisions – nobody has been making any decisions. The scheme has failed and is not accomplishing what it set out to do.”

“If (the government) had introduced the fuel levy in 2007, we would have already paid for the roads,” Duvenage said.

African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe recently stated that that e-tolls had cost the party votes in the municipal elections in 2016.

Read: Sanral dismisses claims that most e-toll money is going out of South Africa

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E-tolls will be reviewed…again