In early July 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa instructed Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Gauteng premier David Makhura to find a solution to the e-tolls impasse. E-tolls has been one of most widely contested issues in South Africa since their inception in December 2013.
An AA survey in August 2019, found that between around 40% of respondents to the survey were paying their e-tolls, which was a higher number than the expected 27% of the entire system. This same survey showed that approximately 40% do not pay e-tolls and never have, while 20% previously did pay, but decided to stop.
Minister Mboweni had always been vocal of his support for the e-Toll system, and had stated R40 billion of debt of the roads must be paid by motorists. When Sanral (South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd) announced in March 2019, that it would stop its pursuit of cases against motorists who were not paying, Mboweni criticised the agency, saying it would put the country’s credit rating at risk.
A cabinet proposal was supposed to be tabled by August 2019.
Fred Nel MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC For Roads and Transport made the following statement:
“The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes with great concern, that the e-Toll contract with Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) has once again been renewed.
This clearly means that the ANC government does not have any intention to scrap e-Tolls any time soon and they are making empty promises that the matter is at a critical stage and is being looked into.
It is now more than a year since President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated that cabinet will make a decision on the future of the e-Tolls, but yet we are still waiting on a decision.
It is unacceptable that the ANC government continues to mislead people on the e-Toll matter to the extent that they used it as an electioneering tool last year, when they knew that they had absolutely no intention of finding a viable solution to e-Tolls.
The residents of Gauteng have made it clear that they are not willing to pay for e-Tolls as it was something that they were not consulted on before it’s implementation. Given the current economic climate, e-Tolls is something that our residents in Gauteng are unable to pay.
As the DA we have always been against the implementation of e-Tolls as it is an unfair tax burden on the residents of Gauteng. Further to this we have also suggested that a portion of the fuel levy be used to pay for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.
It is clear that the ANC has no clue about what it is doing when it comes to finding a resolution to e-tolls. The DA has previously put forward a solution to e-Tolls by suggesting that a few cents from the fuel levy be ring-fenced to pay for the e-Tolls, but instead it is being used to bail out State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
The e-Toll system must be scrapped before it turns motorists into criminals. The DA will continue to put pressure on National and Provincial Government to make a decision on the e-Toll system.”