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E-toll collection costs R30bn
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 00:00
Written by Farzana Rasool
Despite appealing the interdict against Gauteng e-tolling, the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) is still not ready to launch the system, says the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA).
The association filed its answering affidavit to National Treasury’s leave to appeal the interdict, in the Constitutional Court.
Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s chairperson, says the organisation makes reference to a number of pertinent points in the case. The first of these is that Sanral is still not ready to launch e-tolling, given the outstanding regulatory issues; for example, the finalisation of the exemption criteria and Sanral regulations.
“In addition, the e-toll enforcement procedures and how these relate to Aarto and the Criminal Procedures Act remain unclear. It is also noted that, on 31 May , the minister of transport withdrew the e-toll tariffs for further review.”
OUTA adds that it has also discovered that the cost of the five-year contract between ETC and Sanral is R8.3 billion (or R1.6 billion per annum).
“Taken over 20 years, this means that the cost of collection is in fact R33.4 billion, therefore, R13.4 billion more than what is assumed in the founding affidavit filed by the minister of finance and Sanral.
This means the road users will pay much more for toll collection than the road upgrade.”
The association says the current legal focus by treasury on the appeal to the Constitutional Court is misplaced, as the priority should rather be to expedite the full review proceedings.
OUTA has been invited to meet with deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe as head of the inter -ministerial committee on e-tolling.
“OUTA remains adamant and concerned about the government’s intentions to introduce this most wasteful and inefficient funding mechanism. Of greater concern is the civil disobedience that will arise if e-tolling is ever introduced and this is the kind of reaction we do not need, when it comes to credit and investor ratings for our country.”
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) is still in discussion with the African National Congress as to the best funding model to repay Sanral’s debts and finance future road construction and improvement projects.
“One proposal under discussion is for a 14c a litre increase on the fuel levy, but only as an interim measure to repay Sanral’s current debt. Longer-term alternatives are still being debated, but any outcome must be based on fairness, so that those who can afford to pay more make a bigger contribution.”
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