Car rental company, Avis says it supports the upgrading of the Gauteng freeways – but does not support e-tolls as the best funding mechanism to do it.
Avis issued a statement to clarify “confusion” some media outlets had reported on, in saying that the company supported e-tolls.
“Unfortunately some media incorrectly reported that Avis, by supporting GFIP upgrades, also supports the implementation of e-tolls as the funding mechanism.”
“This view is incorrect. We believe that there are more effective and efficient funding mechanisms than the currently proposed e-Toll model,” the company said.
On Tuesday, 26 November, Avis detailed how it would go about charging customers for rentals with the additional costs incurred from e-tolls.
E-toll fees incurred by its customers during the rental period would be included in their final invoice, with a final invoice available only two days after the vehicle was returned – highlighting the total e-toll amount, the company said.
“Avis will charge the standard e-toll tariff, per e-toll gantry, to a monthly maximum value of R450 as published in the Government Gazette,” it said.
Costly to fight back
Avis joins the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) in toeing a difficult line between opposing the controversial e-toll system, while still submitting to it in order to avoid hefty fees and legal issues.
On Wednesday (27 November) Sacci CEO Neren Rau accused Sanral of twisting the organisation’s stance on e-tolls after the chamber head advised members to abide by the e-toll laws.
Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona subsequently welcomed Sacci’s support for e-tolling – drawing Sacci out to clarify its stance.
“Sacci remains opposed to e-tolls because of the high collection costs and the overall burden the tolls will have on the economy,” Rau said in a statement.
“However, Sacci will advise its members to abide by the law if the e-toll law is implemented on December 3 because of the high cost of non-compliance.”
According to Outa head, Wayne Duvenage – former CEO at Avis – it was always going to be difficult for companies to defy e-tolls, but given the choice, they would almost certainly choose an increased fuel levy to fund the province’s upgrades.
E-tolling on Gauteng’s highways is set to go live on December 3.
Earlier this month, the Democratic Alliance and the Freedom Front Plus announced they would each bring high court applications to fight the constitutionality of the e-toll bill President Jacob Zuma signed in September.
A legal challenge to e-tolling by Outa was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal on October 9.
(Additional reporting by Sapa)