Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa says that thousands of motorists have called to ask if they can benefit from the new e-tolls dispensation and the discounts it offers.
Ramaphosa was answering oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday (10 June).
The deputy president announced the new dispensation for the implementation of the e-toll system in May after the initial system launched in December 2013, was largely rejected by the public, who refused to pay their e-toll bills.
The new dispensation would see the current fee of 58 cents per kilometre, reduced to 30 cents per kilometre for people using e-roads, while the monthly cap for e-toll road users has been adjusted to R225, from R450 previously.
Motorists will have to pay their outstanding e-tolls upon renewal of vehicle licences,
while all current outstanding e-toll bills will be discounted by 60%, with road users given 6 months to pay these off, the deputy president said in May.
Those with outstanding e-toll payments may not be able to renew their car licence disc in the future, the government warned.
Long-time e-toll opponent, Outa, has dismissed the new dispensation as being disingenuous, saying that the 58c per km fee was “punitive”, and that 30c per km is what people would have paid anyway, had they bought into the system – which they clearly did not.
The group also said that the reduction of the e-toll cap to R225 was actually R25 more than what Sanral and the department of transport had initially pegged as being the amount most motorists would pay.
The groups previously said that 90% of road users would likely never pay more than R200.
“Reducing the outstanding bills by 60% is a carrot the public will not fall for,” Outa said.
‘E-tolls are in your best interest’
Ramaphosa said the e-tolls dispensation safeguards the interest of the fiscus to build and maintain roads. The new e-tolls dispensation aims to be fair, affordable and sustainable which draws from the GP advisory panel, he said.
He said that a fuel levy was considered over e-tolls, “but it would be impossible to exempt buses and taxis and would affect the poor”.
The Transport Department said that the implementation of the new e-toll tariffs in Gauteng could take as long as 18 months.
The new dispensation will be rolled out in phases, as changes are made to legislation, the e-toll system and administrative processes.
Changes will be phased in by the end of 2016.
Ramaphosa said on Wednesday, that a referendum is off the table, as called for by the Democratic Alliance last month.