Sanral CEO Nazir Alli says that the resistance to e-tolls in Gauteng is a hype, after deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the new dispensation for the implementation of the system earlier this month.
The new dispensation would see the current fee of 58 cents per kilometre, reduced to 30 cents per kilometre for people using e-roads, while the monthly cap for e-toll road users has been adjusted to R225, from R450 previously.
In an interview with SABC News, the SA National Roads Agency chief said in terms of compliance, “its not what has been made out to be – this hype to say there is this major resistance against paying”.
He highlighted surveys conducted around the system which showed that 34% of people said it was reasonable versus 38% of people who said that it was unreasonable – 4% difference.
“In my opinion…the 4% difference is splitting hairs in this very emotionally charged atmosphere that we have been working around,” Alli said.
In a study conducted by Ipsos, the vast majority of Gauteng motorists (74%) felt that the government should find an alternative to the e-toll system.
“It is not surprising that the news of the fee reduction has not been more positively received,” said Ipsos director Mari Harris.
Ipsos found that 48% of respondents did not agree with the toll to be paid by Gauteng motorists, while only 32% of Gauteng drivers have bought an e-tag.
Government noted that the reduction in fees will create a shortfall of R390 million in annual revenue, which will be covered by national government and the Gauteng Provincial government.
Alli said that Sanral’s debt in relation to e-tolls amounted to approximately R20 billion, to cover initial construction costs. However, because of the interest on that debt, the outstanding amount has grown.
Moody’s Investors Service said in January, that it anticipates that Sanral’s debt would increase more than expected and reach R44.1 billion by the end of March 2015, from R39.6 billion at the end of March 2014.