NATIONAL NEWS - The organisation undoing tax abuse (Outa) has again called on the government to acknowledge the failure of the e-tolls scheme and to come up with a workable solution.
This as the end of August deadline approaches for the task team on e-tolls to present its findings to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Outa believes the South African government had not acted in the best interests of society when establishing e-tolls and continued to “ignore the facts and alternatives that are available to resolve the impasse”.
“It is clear to us that [government] is ignoring volumes of evidence from almost six years of the failure of the Gauteng e-toll scheme,” said Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage.
“It needs to find practical and workable solutions to the impasse as opposed to making glib statements in the hope that the problems will disappear.”
Duvenage said, unlike electricity or taking a train ride where the user-pays principle is more easily applied, the e-tolls scheme is very different in the ability of authorities to administer and enforce it.
“There is now enough evidence that, had government applied alternative options to fund the Gauteng freeway upgrade bonds [from the start], these would have largely been settled by now.”
“This essentially means that the government has not acted in the best interests of society and continues to do so by ignoring the facts and alternatives available to them to resolve the impasse.”
Outa estimates that as many as four out of five Gauteng highway users are not paying their e-toll bills.
“On top of this, Sanral has been fiddling around with a senseless, costly and protracted litigious war with the public over the past three years,” said Duvenage.
“The authorities would do well to realise that they’ve already lost on this matter, regardless of a slim chance of achieving a ruling in their favour.”
Last month a task team, led by transport minister Fikile Mbalula, was established to find a viable solution to e-tolls.
It was established by President Ramaphosa, following an “extremely unfortunate and deeply regrettable” social media exchange between Mbalula and finance minister Tito Mboweni.
At the time, Mbalula promised to have a solution to the e-tolling matter before the end of August deadline.