Gauteng roads and transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo says that the province has overwhelmingly rejected e-tolling, and his department will oppose any attempts to link the failed system to regulations.
Speaking in an interview with eNCA, Mamabolo said that he was engaging with Transport minister Fikile Mbalula to address the issue, but that it was clear that Gauteng motorists were not in favour of the scheme.
“As a provincial government, we will spare no effort to completely oppose any attempt that seeks to bring back e-tolls,” he said.
“We have written to (Transport minister) Fikile Mbalula in this regard, and we are expecting feedback from them. But from where we stand as the provincial government, no regulation should have a relationship with the e-tolling system that we clearly said was unnecessary in the first place.”
He said the system has bad financial modelling and risk management, and has clearly demonstrated to everyone that it is a system that should never have been established in the first place.
“We will wait to see what the way forward is (from national government), but we are very clear on this matter – the people of our province have overwhelmingly rejected e-tolls,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo’s statement comes after concerns were raised that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) was moving to block car licence renewals for motorists who don’t pay for the controversial tolling scheme.
Weekend reports highlighted warnings on Sanral’s e-tolling website that this was being put in place.
However, Howard Dembovsky, chairperson of Justice Project South Africa, said that this threat from Sanral was not new. The roads agency has threatened to withhold licences since the onset of the e-tolling, he said, and that this is not a new amendment.
He added that the provision has always existed in the Aarto Act for enforcement orders to be issued against any outstanding infringement, including non-payment of e-tolls, to coerce payment of the fine. Aarto has been in effect in Johannesburg and Tshwane since 2008.
“Despite it being an issuing authority in the Aarto scheme, Sanral has not issued a single infringement notice for failure to pay e-tolls since they came into force in December 2013,” he said.
Civil group Outa said that the warning was fear-mongering, stating that, if it were in effect, 80% of road users in the province would not be able to renew their vehicle licences.
“Renewal of a vehicle licence can only be withheld with if an enforcement order for outstanding infringements fines has been issued against an owner/driver of a vehicle, and it hasn’t been paid. Outstanding e-toll fees is not an infringement (road traffic offence),” it said.