NATIONAL NEWS - The undercollection of revenue from e-tolls was not surprising but reinforced Gauteng government’s view the system had always been unsustainable and Sanral’s latest integrated annual report lent impetus to the need for the system to be cancelled.
That was according to Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mhaga, who said yesterday although they were opposed to the tolling of Gauteng highways, they would like to give consultation to find a lasting solution a chance.
Sanral had only managed to collect R687.7 million for the 2018- 2019 financial year, compared with the previous year when it banked R1.87 billion.
“The issue of e-tolls is about its unsustainability because of the close proximity of the gantries and also the tolling in urban areas. But, as directed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, we are in constant engagement with the ministers of transport and finance to find a solution,” Mhaga said.
The undercollection of fees by Sanral emanated from the fact that “we are dealing with a very unsustainable model. The revenue never reached the expected maximum,” he said.
“We have always had the view that it must go, but we are giving consultation a chance.”
The e-toll system has been crippled by Gauteng motorists who simply refuse to settle mounting bills. E-tolls were introduced partly to fund the highway project, which began in 2007, to prepare as a means to ease Gauteng traffic in the run-up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Moneyweb reported Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma slammed the agency’s detractors, claiming efforts to secure funding for the maintenance of SA’s “high-quality road network are being undermined by narrow-minded groups that encourage people to break the law”.
Macozoma said it was “time government and the citizens of SA hold Outa [Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse] to account for the civil disobedience campaigns contributing to the long-term destruction of critical road infrastructure”.
The report came as Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Makhura, appointed by Ramaphosa to find a solution to the saga, missed the August deadline.
It is understood Mbalula had asked for extra time to deal with the matter and had indicated he was in consultation with various interest groups, including Outa. He said the engagements were set to intensify.
Outa has led the way in calling for the scrapping of e-tolls, arguing it had placed an extra tax burden on motorists.
Democratic Alliance MPL and shadow MEC for roads and transport Fred Nel, said this once again showed that e-tolls were not working and should be scrapped.
Nel said the report also indicated the entity raised an impairment of R10.04 billion on its total e-toll trade.
“It is high time that a solution is found to e-tolls in Gauteng.” Nel said.