With government set to make an announcement on the future of e-tolls before the end of the month, the DA has warned that there may be severe implications for Gauteng motorists if the system is not scrapped.
Under the recently passed Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Act (Aarto), operator class vehicles will be fined R500 for every e-toll gantry they pass without paying e-tolls, the party said.
By comparison, motorists driving a light motor vehicle will not lose any points but will be fined R250 for every gantry they pass without paying e-tolls.
“The act is just another way to force motorists to pay for e-tolls,” the DA said.
“The DA has always been against the implementation of e-tolls as this is an unfair burden on the residents of Gauteng who are already struggling to make ends meet.”
The party said it is clear that residents are not prepared to pay for e-tolls and we cannot have a situation where motorists are fined for something which they were not consulted on in the first place.
“The e-toll system must be scrapped before it causes motorists to infringe. If this does not happen then the President should postpone the implementation of Aarto until the e-toll matter is finalised.”
Future of e-tolls
In July, president Cyril Ramaphosa instructed minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula to work alongside finance minister Tito Mboweni and Gauteng premier David Makhura to find a solution to e-tolls.
Ramaphosa said that the trio should submit a solution to cabinet, dealing with the impasse around electronic tolling on Gauteng before the end of August 2019.
“While the user-pay principle remains a policy of government, the electronic tolling system as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan (GFIP) presents challenges in its current form.
“The president expects that the consultations within government over the coming weeks will produce workable outcomes.”
While scrapping e-tolls will be seen as another failure of government and a costly exercise, the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) has warned that the current model for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) has failed and will continue to do so if pursued.
A recent report by the group found that most e-toll road users are not paying because of a principled position taken years ago and that no amount of cajoling or enticement will change their minds.
“In addition, compliance remains low and continues to drop because of the confusion resulting from different messaging from provincial and national government on e-tolls, and the announcement in March that historic debt will not be pursued.
This, along with Sanral’s strong arm treatment of Gauteng motorists with an iron fist in an iron glove, continues to exacerbate an already heavily-indebted system, it said.