Defending e-tolls cost taxpayers R6m

Defending e-tolls cost taxpayers R6m

2014-02-24 12:18

Cape Town - Court cases involving e-tolling on Gauteng highways have cost the taxpayer over R6 million in legal fees, according to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

"The total amount spent on the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) case is R5 786,643.87 and on the Tollgate Action Group (TKA) case R229 568.00," he said in a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Monday.

According to the reply, the cases involved the State Attorney and six private advocates, two of whom were "on brief for the full duration of the matter" over the past two years.

The question was posed by Freedom Front Plus MP Anton Alberts.

  • Ryan Govindsamy - 2014-02-24 12:27

    Wat about the billions costing taxpayers due to corruption

      Lynn Hugo - 2014-02-24 12:32

      Could We as taxpayer make like malema and just stop paying tax. Sars can't put us all in jail. No wander SA is sliding backwards. This government is definitely defending everything that is useless.

      Bryan McCloy - 2014-02-24 12:36

      Money well spent if it helps get rid of this rip off

      Michael Ross - 2014-02-24 12:48

      Why is e-tolls being funded by the state? I thought it was a privately owned institution, tolling the roads on behalf of the state, and paying out to the state? What was that name again? Oh yes, it is ETC (electronic toll collections). They "operate" e-tolls. In other words, they are not a state-run institution. In summary, this means that state funds are being misappropriated and used in the defense and prosecutions relating to a privately operated non-government organization (NGO). It doesn't matter if e-tolls is mandated by SANRAL, a government institution, because it is not operated by SANRAL. How's that for corruption?

      Mattewis Kat - 2014-02-24 12:58

      Exactly! If the government hadn't distinguished itself as a collection of corrupt self-serving people insatiable for opulent extravagance at the cost of the whole country, these funds would have also been saved. As it is it pales in comparison to their levels of corrupt expenditure of which Nkandla is but only one mere example. This R5.8M also serves to not only try to improve efficiency of tax-revenue structures, but also to prevent further revenue leaving the country!

      Kawasaki1985 - 2014-02-24 13:05

      Using Taxpayers money to fight Taxpayers. Great Recipe. According to JZ it was only "Forty Million Hundred and Thousand Forty Hundred and Twenty Rands"

      Konstabel Koekemoer - 2014-02-24 13:17

      It will cost the SA motorists many billions of Rands if Sanral succeeds with the e-tolling. Sanral will end up tolling every one of the national roads under it's control in South Africa and provinces as well as municipalites will also jump onto the tolling band wagon. Tolling is economic sabotage and will definately hurt the prosperity of all South Africans.

      Tasneem Sattar - 2014-02-24 13:19

      Lynn, we're doing it with success with e-tolls, maybe withholding tax too until govt gets its act together is not such a far fetched idea after all. There are a few additional difficulties in emulating similar protest action in respect of income tax, but it does demonstrate the power we potentially have as a collective.

      ThabangBonang - 2014-02-24 13:35

      Wow! Using the public money to fight the public.

      Ernica Stanford - 2014-02-24 13:45

      @Michael Ross- You've said exactly what I want to say but could not find the words or the way to put it. Thank you so much! Sometimes the public just don't pick this up!

      Linds Ron-House - 2014-02-24 13:58

      @Michael, ETC is an agency appointed by government to collect tolls. They did not develop and implement policy. So why should they pay fees for a legal case that involves policy matters? If I appoint you to build me a house and the city council takes me to court because my plans were not approved, surely that is not your problem as the contractor. You can't pay legal fees for that. All you want is your payment for the work you've completed already. Finally, the whole project and system were not funded by the state. It was an off-budget project. Otherwise there wouldn't have been any debt. The loan must be serviced. ETC collects tolls to service the loan. It is important to understand that I am not arguing for or against eTolling. Nor am I arguing whether there was corruption involved or not.

      Michael Ross - 2014-02-24 14:21

      @Linds Ron-House: That is precisely my point. Government (you) isn't defending ETC (the contractor), they are doing their job for them - going after non-payers, with state funds. That isn't repaying a loan, that isn't settling legal policy, its abusing state funds instead of letting ETC handle their own debt collection policy, which they outsourced to The Violations Processing Centre (VPC) - the debt collection division within SANRAL. In other words, they aren't doing their own job. Let's make a more accurate example: Makro (government) uses RCS (ETC) to provide credit to their customers / consumers. Makro sells goods (use of roads) to Dr. Jekyll (consumer) and the good doctor doesn't want to pay. Makro (government) provided the goods (roads), but the underwriting was done by RCS (ETC). Makro isn't going to institute legal action against Dr. Jekyll. That is handled by RCS (ETC). because they are the credit providers. In this case, ETC isn't doing the legal footwork or blacklisting, the government is, and in doing so, are overstepping their boundaries. It would be like Game using RCS for credit services, and then RCS in turn outsourcing their court actions back to Game at a cost. Simply put, it is malpractice and corrupt to field services and prosecution between an NGO and the State, because that NGO does not have the authority of the state, because it is not a government institution. The state is using TAXPAYER's money, not ETC's loan for it. That is corruption.

      Michael Ross - 2014-02-24 14:23

      P.S. Not to mention the unconstitutionality of the implementation of e-tolls, which is another argument on its own, and why so many people oppose e-tolls. :)

      George Anderson - 2014-02-24 14:45

      And how much was spent on consultants?

      Revelgen - 2014-02-24 15:02

      This whole e-toll scam is a wonderful example of how the ANC has finally overreached itself. They thought it would be a wonderful moneymaking scheme, and promptly invested R18 billion of govt pension funds into it. BIG mistake ANC. You see, I consider myself a law-abiding citizen who has dutifully paid his taxes for many years. I even pay my traffic fines. But I REFUSE to pay for the e-toll scam which was corrupt from the very beginning. I am dustbinning any invoices I get from ETC. And I WILL NOT allow myself to be branded a criminal for not contributing to the ANC's massively corrupt scheme. Sanral IS going down. It is just a matter of time. We WILL sink it with admin.

      Fiwals West - 2014-02-24 15:41

      Pravin maybe if you had not implemented this nonsense you would not be coughing this money out, even better you would've not asked for wealth tax to be amended.

      Linds Ron-House - 2014-02-24 15:52

      @Michael, I don't agree with your analogy. The court battle between Outa and SANRAL (which is the subject of the R6 million) was not about people refusing to pay, but about the policy and legislation that gave rise to the eTolling system. So this is not a debt collection case. That's why ETC was not a responded. You cannot participate in a civil case if you're not a litigant. Unless you apply to be admitted as an amicus curiae.

  • Christo Swanepoel - 2014-02-24 12:36

    Hopefully those lawyers will spend the money IN south africa, at least the country benefits. Not like the huge load of etoll money going outside.

  • Richard - 2014-02-24 12:37

    Yes it is so easy for our Government to defend cases as they do not run the risk of legal costs. We as taxpayer have to pay it whether we win costs or not.

  • Shawn Watkins - 2014-02-24 12:38

    Better R6m than R26b

  • No E-tolls Ever - 2014-02-24 12:38

    Our own money spent by government to shut us up...

      NuttyZA - 2014-02-24 13:33

      Sickening isn't it....

  • Andre Jacobs - 2014-02-24 12:38

    Even if we spend 60 mil we shall still be saving in the long run. This e-toll rubbish will go on till Mugabe dies, and that is forever. That is not much if you think if 1 mil people spend R60 each, in one month.

  • Rowan Jacklin - 2014-02-24 12:39

    This is money well spent

  • Roy Smithies - 2014-02-24 12:39

    R6m spread over 4.5m tax payers - Im happy to pay my R1.33c thats equivilent to 4 km of e toll driving. What I do object to is paying e toll

      Rassie Erasmus - 2014-02-24 12:45

      Good one Roy! I will even pay for 10 others too!

  • Andre Kapp - 2014-02-24 12:39

    So save us all a lot of money and shut the thing down!!

  • thuli.mbene - 2014-02-24 12:40

    So that is R6 mil to be added to the amount to be recovered after the arrest of zuma?

      Mthandazo Mk Nkiwane - 2014-02-24 13:27

      in yr dreams!zuma is going nowere maybe yr stupid tokoloshe called( malema)

      thuli.mbene - 2014-02-24 13:48

      They can both go to hell. Same thing. Both uneducated thieving bastards

  • Martin Pienaar - 2014-02-24 12:40

    South Africa must be the only country where the citizens serve the government...!

      Konstabel Koekemoer - 2014-02-24 13:19

      No Martin, Zimbabwe is another ...

  • EJ Moropane - 2014-02-24 12:45

    I blame jacob "double_decker" zuma.

  • Mapule Ellen Mahlulo - 2014-02-24 12:46

    I should consider a career in law.

      Ernica Stanford - 2014-02-24 13:55

      @Mapule Ellen Mahlulo- No, politics then into the anc government! You'll become a billionaire in a year!

  • Justin Pretorius - 2014-02-24 12:46

    It cost us over 200 million for Nkandla

  • Dewald Smit - 2014-02-24 12:46

    And how much has been spent on advertising E-Toll to date?

  • Spikkels NK - 2014-02-24 12:48

    Still cheaper than Nkandla, and for a worthy cause.

  • Chris Shield - 2014-02-24 12:50

    Dear mr Gordhan, As YOUR EMPLOYER I hereby order you to stop wasting MY MONEY fighting a legal battle against the very people who pay your salary.. Sincerely YOUR BOSS!

      thuli.mbene - 2014-02-24 12:57

      Also, please consider this your final written warning. Failure to immediately rectify this matter will result in swift and severe disciplinary action being taken against yourself and all your insubordinate colleagues.

      Ernica Stanford - 2014-02-24 13:58

      Beautiful, chrisX and Thuli! Well done!

  • Billy Andrew Croucamp - 2014-02-24 12:52

    And how many NEW roads in areas that don't have road, where service delivery is still waiting could have been utilised with this money...our government really has to re - visit its priority's a crying shame !!

  • Leigh-anne Baaliah - 2014-02-24 12:56

    I rather pay legal fees now than e-tolls for the rest of my life. U tu@ds.

      Amanda Roux - 2014-02-25 12:13

      And your offspring to come.

  • Patrick Hankey - 2014-02-24 12:56


  • Mugabe Sepeng - 2014-02-24 13:01

    Money well spent!

  • Alta Steyn - 2014-02-24 13:14

    Another useless piece of information. Naklanda cost a whole lot more . . . Don't see the argument here, so tiresome . . .

  • Lizette Esterhuysen McIntosh - 2014-02-24 13:15

    All the cost involving the tons of paper accounts is way more and could have gone a long way towards paying the debt. Not speaking of the multimillion building in Midrand....

      Konstabel Koekemoer - 2014-02-24 13:22

      We should ask Sanral to print the accounts on toilet paper ... that way they will at least be of some use for the recipient.

  • Mthandazo Mk Nkiwane - 2014-02-24 13:19

    that s way it is!when ppl lk outa@DA are always fighting for a loosing battle all the time.

      Nic Mechanic - 2014-02-24 14:47

      do you need a new keyboard?...

      Revelgen - 2014-02-24 15:04

      You sound like a 'looser' Mthandazo. Way too loose.

  • Chris Bester - 2014-02-24 13:20

    Just another way to waste taxpayers money, these ANC gangsters is looting this country big time! Another nice story JZ must tell.

  • Righardt Du Plessis - 2014-02-24 13:25

    Im happy to be one of the small percentage in this country who actually PAY taxes and have some of that go towards defending ourselves against E-tolling. Maybe if Nkandla and all the other corrupted investments didnt exist, a mere R6 million wont be in the headlines.

  • John Stoltz - 2014-02-24 13:26

    Reading these comments from the intellectual readership of News 24, I just cannot believe that the ANC will win the next elections! BUt then it is not the intellectuals that vote ANC!

  • Ockie Schoeman - 2014-02-24 13:27

    This government is steering S.A. in the same direction as the rest of Africa. Come to think of it......I drive a 4x4 and I will just make my own roads, like they do in Africa!! If they can "plak" anywhere, we can drive anywhere!!

  • Gavin J Dandridge - 2014-02-24 13:28

    As usual the only winners are the Law firms.

  • Denise Oosthuizen Wilshire - 2014-02-24 13:29

    MY tax money is being used by the government to defend the actions brought by OUTA who I SUPPORT. We need to do what it takes to get rid of these GRAVY TRAIN OPPRESSORS WHO CLAIM TO OFFER A BETTER LIFE FOR ALL!

  • Arcadia Jane - 2014-02-24 13:34

    "Court cases involving e-tolling on Gauteng highways have cost the taxpayer over R6 million in legal fees, according to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan." SO you implement something we wont pay for and then expect to say ag sjyme when you complain that its costing you tax money... dont be a fool dear Pravin - the tax money is our money and the nation should have a say in how its spent and if we decide to spend it to fight ANC corruption we will! so sharrap and do your job before we start the same process with tax...

  • Desiree Rowe - 2014-02-24 13:38

    So you want us to cry over 6 million that the Government has wasted on something the people don't want. But we are not allowed to cry on +200 million the government wasted on something the people don' want or need. Catch a wake up you can't have it both ways. Get our money back from the eyesore in KZN then you have the money for the white elephants charging us for roads we already own and pay for. I don't see the problem here do you.

      MonkInsane - 2014-02-25 13:09

      Not to mention the 30 Billion that went missing last year. But no, this 6 Million is the big issue - not the billions lost due to fraud and corruption inside the government.

  • Ramon Gokaran - 2014-02-24 13:40

    Then the public Protector should inverstigate these inflated legel bills

  • Charl Du Toit - 2014-02-24 13:44

    I am sure that by now they have collected millions more in etolls, so ... we are about 6 mil tax paying slaves, that also pays for about 16 mil persons on some kind of social grant, and this is in an overall population of 50 mil!!! Don't know when the 6 mil (us) will also run dry, but it's not far into future in my opinion....

  • Fiwals West - 2014-02-24 15:41

    Pravin maybe if you had not implemented this nonsense you would not be coughing this money out, even better you would've not asked for wealth tax to be amended.

  • Zabilon PapaKatli - 2014-02-24 16:49

    so we being fought by our own money ?

  • Drummond Doig - 2014-02-24 20:57

    The big spend is still coming when Sanral tries to start prosecuting us who refuse to pay.

  • Barry Eslick - 2014-02-25 10:07

    I am so unhappy that my taxes have been used to fight for scumral's evil system. NOW, GET SOME OF THE MONEY STOLEN BY CORRUPT POLITICIANS AND GOV OFFICIALS AND PUT IT BACK WHERE IT BELONGS. gordhan will not make me feel bad because of etolls. I will never register and I will never give them my details. If you want any of my money, it will cost more to get it than its worth. Do your damnedest, scumral, I will not make your job easy - bunch of gravy train passengers, living high on the hog while the country slips into bankruptcy.

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