The Automobile Association (AA) is disheartened that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced in his Mid-Term Budget in parliament today that e-tolls are “here to stay”.
The Minister mentioned that government considered several options but decided to retain the user-pays principle.
“We find it hard to believe that based on submissions government received anyone apart from SANRAL supported the idea of retaining the current system. We have data that indicates users will continue not to pay, and that the system is doomed to failure should it be kept in its current format,” says the AA.
The Association says continuing with a ‘business as usual’ approach is counter-productive, particularly when business as usual is not only not working, but is a dismal failure.
“Compliance rates are lower than 30 percent, well below any accepted threshold for success. When we met the Minister of Transport in August we also noted that any amount of cajoling or threats of legal action would not convince non-payers to change their minds. Users have simply had enough, and they are hard pressed to make ends meet as it is. Retaining the current system is, in our view, the wrong course of action,” says the AA.
The AA understands that more clarity on the future of e-tolls will be made at the post-Cabinet press briefing tomorrow (Subs: 31 October) by the Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jackson Mthembu, and that the Ministry of Transport will similarly issue communication in this regard thereafter.
“Gauteng motorists have been waiting since 1 September on news of the future of e-tolls. We trust the government will provide sound reasons behind its decision to pursue this system, but nevertheless stand firm in our belief that no matter what these are, Gauteng motorists will reject them,” the AA concludes.