Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) says that the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) can’t have toll roads and a fuel levy, and must choose which system it wants to use to fund its goals.
This follows yet another weekend of Sanral adverts running in the Sunday papers trying to lure public opinion back into its camp.
According to one Sanral ad in particular, the road and services company claims that using a fuel levy to finance the maintenance and building of road infrastructure is “just not sustainable”.
JPSA chairman, Howard Dembovsky, said in a statement on Monday (30 September 2013) that Sanral’s argument against fuel levies in the ads – that they’re outdated and modern technology such as hybrid and electric vehicles are becoming more prolific – was deeply flawed.
“The last time we looked, heavy goods vehicles, which do the most damage to roads infrastructure, consume a large proportion of fuel sold in South Africa and there are currently no hybrid or electric heavy goods vehicles in use in South Africa,” Dembovsky said.
The JPSA chairman pointed out further that of the 56,112 new cars sold in August 2013, only three were Toyota Prius hybrids.
According to JPSA, South Africa consumed approximately 11.7 billion litres of petrol and 11.3 billion litres of diesel in 2012 – representing an increase of around 3.5% in petrol sales and a whopping 24.2% increase in diesel sales over a three year period.
“Therefore, Sanral’s claim that collections based on a fuel levy are ‘unsustainable’ since they are declining is nonsensical at best and an outright lie at worst.”
Scrapping the fuel levy
By Sanral’s own argument that fuel levies are unsustainable, JPSA said it – and South Africans in general – would be happy to see it scrapped altogether, “given the fact that it has been acutely demonstrated that our fuel levy is not being used for roads infrastructure as it should be”.
If the fuel levy were to be scrapped altogther, Dembovsky argued, South African motorists would see a relief of as much as R2.13 off of the petrol price – and R1.98 off the diesel price.
“This relief would be most welcome by most, if not all motorists – and then Sanral could go forward with their policy of raising bonds to secure loans to fund infrastructure development and charge users to drive on the roads they build,” Dembrovsky said.
However, JPSA said that Sanral and the National Treasurey could not have it both ways as was currently being forced on the populous.
“We call upon Sanral and Treasury to make a choice – either it’s going to be a fuel levy or tolls/e-tolls,” Dembrovsky said.
“They simply cannot have it both ways and continue to engage in false advertising.”