The South African National Roads Agency Limited’s (Sanral) says it has registered more than one million e-tags for its controversial e-toll system.
It follows research conducted by the Opposition for Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) which indicates that as many 71% of motorists have not bought an e-tag, the electronic device which enables motorists a concession for Sanral’s e-toll system on Gauteng’s freeways.
Outa said that seven in 10 of a sample size of 2,700 vehicles – counted during peak hour traffic at nine different on/off ramps during early February – did not have e-tags fitted.
the opposition group’s previous research finding on 12th December 2013 (within two weeks of the gantries going live), found that only 15% of users had bought into the system.
Responding to Outa’s claims, Vusi Mona, GM of communications at Sanral said: “We have more than one million e-tag registrations with a weekly average of new registrations of 35,000 to 45,000.
“This will definitely be higher during some weeks when key account holders come on board. This comes to approximately 66% and not 29% as stated by Outa,” Mona said.
In early January, Sanral said it had sold 960,000 e-tags, one month after launch.
The Sanral representative added: “Even more interestingly is that there have been hardly any e-tag de-registrations. Those that have deregistered are road users who are moving out of Gauteng.”
“Despite Sanral’s intimidation tactics, Outa has been pleasently surprised at the civil courage of Gauteng citizens who have largely resisted and displayed a relatively low e-tag uptake” said John Clarke, spokesperson for Outa, who added that, for e-tolling to be successful, compliance levels had to be well over the 85% level.
Outa called on President Zuma to display some civil courage in his State of the Nation speech on Thursday, by calling off the “ill-conceived e-tolling system”.
Mona said that Sanral will share project details on a quarterly basis. As a state-owned company Sanral’s affairs are an open book.