E-toll debacle 'makes SA look weak'

2012-04-30 09:24

Johannesburg - Government efforts to introduce e-tolling and a high court order stopping it have raised questions about the state's ability or willingness to guarantee debt, Business Day reported on Monday.

Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt said the country's leadership appeared weak and confused, which could have an adverse impact on South Africa's image as an investment destination.

"People are prepared to pay for tolls, but with conditions. The real issue is we are losing face because clearly the politicians are not in charge here. It's very bad for SA's image," he said.

Financial services group Nomura emerging market economist Peter Attard Montalto told the publication the struggle to implement e-tolling would create a precedent that undermined parastatal policy, and managing the problems would add costs to the fiscus.

Montalto said state would have to use funds meant for other parastatals to bail out the SA National Roads Agency Limited.

He said the problem was with the R20bn debt incurred by improving Gauteng's highways

"Consequently, if a payment is missed... the toll-side debt accelerates. Government would have to then pay around R19bn to finance that side of Sanral's balance sheet," said Montalto.

If the government had to guarantee the debt, "budget reserves would be fully consumed at the start of the fiscal year and add yet another risk to the deficit", he told the newspaper.


  • zipho500 - 2012-04-30 09:30

    Am not prepared to pay for tolls!

      JaredVN - 2012-04-30 09:40

      People are prepared to pay tolls on NEW roads. If Scamral built new roads parallel to the N1 and N3, and said to the public: "Here are new roads on which you have to pay toll but in return you will not get stuck in traffic", people would have paid with a glad heart, just like nobody complains about the Gautrain. Except Scamral got greedy and tried to extort exorbitant amounts of toll for simply upgrading existing roads. This is criminal - firstly, we've paid for the roads long ago, and secondly it was criminal extortion because Scamral never offered any realistic alternatives.

      Rod - 2012-04-30 09:57

      The problem is' who will pay fpr the Roads

      colin.dovey - 2012-04-30 10:06

      I am now REALLY worried about the R511 BILLION they are talking about for the National Health Scheme, and they can't even run the current hospitals - except into the ground, and they took over a system which at least working - and they decided to close the Nurses' Training Colleges, the Teachers Training Colleges, the Apprenticeship Training......there seems to be just NOTHING they can get right....

      Mirreille - 2012-04-30 10:06

      Sorry, but someone has to pay for our 2010 SWC party !!!!! It cost the SA taxpayer =====100 BILLION !!!! FIFA run away with the billions US$ in profit ! It was an expensive hoax !!!!!

      Jessica - 2012-04-30 10:14

      Whatever you do, do not buy an eTag! The tokoloshe will trace it & catch you!

      Gordon - 2012-04-30 10:24

      So as great government I can just build or do anything and expect payment as I please? Then just tell you 'look what I have given you'! Now pay!

      Koos - 2012-04-30 10:27

      What do you expect when there is a herdboy in charge?

      Frederik - 2012-04-30 10:35

      Thing is we dont appear weak, South Africa is weak!!! This country is being run like zumas spaza shop!!! Everything is in chaos. Most pathetic gov. on earth and in the history of human kind.

      Frederik - 2012-04-30 10:45

      South Africa is being run by a gang of criminals. zuma, shaik and parliament. Zuma should do the honourable thing resign and dissolve parliament. "Theft,fraud and violence,South African MP's do it all.A culture of impunity has made the South African parliament one of the most scandal-ridden governments in the world whereby MP's are arrested for drunken driving,shoplifting,fraud and varied corruption offences. Of the 535 MPs, 29 have been found guilty of domestic violence, 7 have been arrested for fraud, 19 have been accussed of bouncing fraudulent cheques,117 have been involved in at least two businesses that have gone bankrupt,71 cannot obtain a credit card because of their bad credit ratings,14 have been arrested on drug-related charges,8 have been arrested for shoplifting,84 have been arrested for drunken driving.

      Pieter - 2012-04-30 13:04

      @colin.dovey. It will probably be the same for the National Health Scheme. R 511 billion for the infrastructure and another R 511 billion for the invoicing.

      Carol - 2012-04-30 21:16

      @ Frederik - The only thing Zuma is capable of organising is a screw up in a brothel. He seems to have a degree in screwing, not only with all his wives but screwing up the country as well.

  • TrueTenacity - 2012-04-30 09:34

    Hopefully this will teach the powers to be that they must take the needs of the people into account BEFORE they embark on R20bn projects in the future...

      pieterduplessis - 2012-04-30 09:48

      To have R20 Billion infrastructure developments is great, but to have this disconnect from finishing to payment and poor communication is not on. I really believe that Government has lost a bit of touch with the people if they just think that they can impose such a steep price on motorist. The only solution that I see is that they cost is partly funded by motorist and government. Then we as CT Taxpayers will have to help a bit so that you can drive better :-)

      Pieter Mulder - 2012-04-30 10:28

      If we only had sufficient roads. We will pay for something that doesn't work at all.

      Fussed - 2012-04-30 12:03

      @ Pieter Mulder. We do pay for something that doesn't work, GOV

  • Christopher - 2012-04-30 09:36

    Well it makes the South African person look strong in my books. At least the government cannot just do as it pleases whenever they short change the South African.

      Tsholofelo - 2012-05-01 04:45

      To me it shows that us south africans we think here and now. This project was a stupid mistake dat our gov made. i bet u even if they can ask VAVI or any 1 from OUTA to come up with the solution for this problem (how r we going to pay for the money we owe) they won’t come up with a solution. lets say the gov agrees to scab this project wat do u as Chris think we should do as "strong" South Africans to resolve this money problem?

      Christopher - 2012-05-02 09:24

      @Tsholofelo Maybe for one,our lovely politicians can keep their grubby hands out of our Country's till.

  • Clive - 2012-04-30 09:38

    "Dawie Roodt said the country's leadership appeared weak and confused...." Well?

      mxolisi.shabangu - 2012-04-30 09:57

      Zuma's Administration is the most incompetent since the dawn of Democracy it seems every decision the make is easily challenged in courts, they don't consult, sometimes i wonder whats the Role of All the Legal Advisers in the Presidency and the Dept of Justice

      Koos - 2012-04-30 10:29

      Running a country is a lot harder than looking after the tribes cattle.

      Frederik - 2012-04-30 12:16

      Zuma, confused, never............

      Bryon - 2012-04-30 12:42

      They forgot idiotic & incompetent..

      Francois - 2012-04-30 23:57

      That was the only part Dawie Roodt got right. The World leaders no longer give or care a sh@t about South Africa, that wnt out of the window with Mandela.

  • Fredster - 2012-04-30 09:38

    Ask the guys that planned and build it with "no money"

  • George - 2012-04-30 09:38

    The experts still don't get it. People don't object to reasonable, well planned, rational expenditure by government. What they don't like is corrupt practices, 'bizarre' financial planning, etc. E-Toll was not investment, it was financial rape of people that can't afford it. What is worrying, is that some elites find this so hard to understand. The judge clearly did not. NO TOLLS, NO E_TAG, DO NOT PAY FOR WHAT IS ALREADY YOURS.

      Tsholofelo - 2012-05-01 04:52

      Yes sir! i agree with u. but i have 1 problem if the gov scab the whole shibang!!! how do u recon we should come up with the money "SOuth Africa" (Not the goverment but SA)owes for that Mistake of a project???????

      Anton - 2012-05-15 23:41

      @Tsholofelo No Sir! "South Africa" does not owe the money. The government does. They seem to think of us as an endless source of money. We are not. We do not have that money to pay. And until the goverment realize this they will continue to spend money we don't have. Therefore we had to get the message to them. "We Wont't Pay!".

  • spartanx93 - 2012-04-30 09:38

    Did the government actually think people would be fine with another toll road? I don't know how many damn toll rolls there are but where does all that money go? the roads are still in a cr@p state!

      Roger - 2012-05-08 13:42

      The Director general of transport has asked parliament for 88 Billion a year to maintain the roads in S.A., there are approximately 745000 KM of road in S.A but a little over 70000Km are actually tared or paved the rest are dirt roads. If you do the math, that works out to around R 1,257142 per km a year for maintenance. Funny it only costs R 1million a km to build a new road from scratch. SANRAIL controls around 20,000Km of road and toll about 1,800 km of the 3,000 km of toll roads in S.A. So to answer your question the money goes into thin air, I live in an old suburb and have done so for the last 12 years the main road where I live has not been maintained or resurfaced in the last 12 years. Go figure

  • Fanie - 2012-04-30 09:39

    What a lot of nonsense! Government took the wrong path to start with. If this does not give investors confidence in SA, ie. our legal system, then nothing would. If inverters can learn something from this debacle it should be not to pay bribes to secure over paying projects. This whole process that is taking place now gives me hope for our future in this country.

      Angela - 2012-04-30 11:03

      Well said Fanie, couldn't agree more. One of the major corruption issues is payment of bribes to be able to "invest" in South Africa. Investment in our country that only benefits the investors is nothing more than economic colonialism and we must fight that. There always seems to be some reason these "investors" are "scared off" ie they're sulking because they can't have it all their own way. We need domestic investment more than foreign investment anyway.

  • mark.p.vrdoljak - 2012-04-30 09:39

    So essentially we should continue to support corrupt so as not to appear weak?

  • Gregory - 2012-04-30 09:39

    People wont pay tolls conditions or not. You sound like the SABC. With your propaganda bullish*t.

  • Sean.Nefdt - 2012-04-30 09:42

    Am I just an idiot for not understanding why we should be paying for roads when we already pay rates , taxes , licensing fees for our vehicles fuel levies for roads on our fuel ,and another thing I cannot understand is why tolling should go on forever at huge amounts of profits , when we should be saying once the road is paid for toll 's should be coming to an end and only maintenance funding model should be considered ,what is this obsession about making profits from our taxes a country that does not run at a profit and spends its entire budgets on its people that is a government that I would like to vote for.

  • Johan - 2012-04-30 09:44

    Tax, Property Tax, License money, Levy on fuel, Vat, No I think you got in wrong!!! People are NOT prepared to pay for tolls (NOT EVEN WITH CONDITIONS). The politicians have not been in charge for some time now. It is criminals that are running the country. The image of this country has not been scared by the e-toll not being implemented it has been scared by putting a criminal in charge as president

  • don.odendaal - 2012-04-30 09:45

    The editor really needs to wake up The people are not prepared to pay tolls under any conditions and the government actually is very week and confused not just in appearance

  • robqb - 2012-04-30 09:45

    Clearly the politicians are not in charge, of course they're not. They are employed by the people, for the people! Next thing you know, they get a bee in the bonnet,add a lane to the N1 and charge a toll for ALL the lanes. What happens when the debt for the new lane between Jo'burg & Pretoria have been paid? Will the tolling be stopped? The debt for the N1 over Du Toit's Kloof has already been paid for but the tolling just carries on. Where does that money go to? Like the Boertjie would say "Genoeg is genoeg!"

  • don.odendaal - 2012-04-30 09:45

    sorry weak

  • John - 2012-04-30 09:45

    Just one more glaring truth that the cANCer is completely out of there depth trying to govern a "democratic country", im sure they'd have no problem running a communist dictatorship though - STOP VOTING THESE BUFFOONS INTO POWER, WAKE UP SOUTH AFRICA!!

  • Pieter Melt Mulder - 2012-04-30 09:46

    In 2000 gov. paid for a report. This stated tolling wouldn't work. Yet here we sit today. Its not that gov. is weak, gov. is soft in the head.

  • Don.Tandy - 2012-04-30 09:48

    'Dawie Roodt said the country's leadership appeared weak and confused' - so whats new. Everything the ANCorruption does makes them look weak and confused.

  • reinhardt.moller - 2012-04-30 09:48

    I don't agree with the method by which people were 'tricked' into paying for major infrastructure developments above usual financing structures for the e-tolling system. Moreover, the collective effort by South Africans in putting the system on hold is great, a true sense of community last felt in 2010! However, with South Africa being a member of the BRICs, all eyes are on the country, especially supporting infrastructure. You have to admit that it does not put us in a favourable light, regardless of whether you are for or against e-tolling.

      George - 2012-04-30 10:07

      Put it this way, if this was China, those responsible for the E-Toll con and associated corruption would be lying on a field with a bullet hole in the head and their family would have to pay for the bullet. They should consider themselves lucky. The Chinese at least, will have gained an enormous respect for the SA people. We are no walk over!

  • willie.vanzyl1 - 2012-04-30 09:48

    The politicians are not supposed to be in charge... Democracy in action here...

  • marius.dumas - 2012-04-30 09:52

    I think it made SA look strong and the ANC weak. How do you measure a country’s strength, by the dictatorship of its government? Or by the strength of the people to keep it's government under control?

      marius.dumas - 2012-04-30 10:02

      This only proves that democracy is working in South Africa. What is weak about that?

      Geraldine - 2012-04-30 14:31

      I think that the rest of the world are saying "Go, the people of SA" and I think they will see we are not a lot of pushovers. Let this not be the only time we put our feet down and say "up to here and no further, enough is enough". I hope all the people have now seen that the people can control the Government by standing together.

  • Mhlonso - 2012-04-30 09:53

    I am not prepared to pay? Dawie Roodt did you do research on this? Did you do public consultations? Dawie Roodt you start to sound like the ANC that eat the cake and drink champaigne on behalf of the masses..

  • Sivuyile - 2012-04-30 09:53

    Gov. saw this coming a long time ago, just that people were promised things and couldnt back out. It is not going to work though, South Africans aint stupid.

  • vmeiring1 - 2012-04-30 09:54

    It's a proof that this country is run by idiots. They inherited a 1 st world country with all the infrastructure in place, and they even stuffed that up. The only thing they can do well is to steal the tax payers money and put the debt burden onto the tax payer. Money grows on trees?? ANC policy???

  • - 2012-04-30 09:55

    These economists are talking something else now. The politicians cannot be in control because they represent the people. They cannot just shove an absurd system down our throats. There should always be a consultation process. If there isn't then their plans will be futile. The courts were strong enough to halt the project. Big up. The economists must keep out of this one. Easy to blab when you can afford.

      henry.murray.5 - 2012-04-30 10:29

      I agree with you! These economists have taken sides on the wrong side. It will be just as bad if the ppl cannot afford it and just as devastating. The government is in a much better position to bankroll this than the ppl are. I think if they had said 'its gonna cost you' we would have said 'agg rather keep it'. And also if we knew what we were paying for then maybe, but we know by now that a big portion of it lands up in their pockets. So why should we.

  • Cornelius - 2012-04-30 09:55

    And the decision makes organisations other than the government look strong and decisive. Roodt should contemplate the fact that a society - and a state - comprises more than government; and try to think about the implications of that. By the way, Roodt: Are the courts and other social organisations not parts of "the state"? Get out of your economistic box. As for Montalto: What "parastatal policy"? The one that allows government-connected sharps to enrich themselves?

  • Mark - 2012-04-30 09:59


  • Dominic - 2012-04-30 09:59 know who REALLY looked weak? That sucker they had on the news who wished he hadn't purchased an e-tag. Right afterward, they played a clip of Vavi urging drivers to ask for refunds instead of keeping these e-tag toys. hahaha!! You know what else?...if people stand together against ANC corruption/greed....the ANC's dodgy leaders will start to look weak pretty soon too.

  • Ian - 2012-04-30 10:01

    I disagree strongly with Dawie Roodt's comments here. Yes this eTolling is a debacle, not because the government is weak and soft, but because they were not transparent or democratic in their approach & they have tried to force through in very heavy handed & undemocratic style something that will have huge unplanned consequences. Let's explain this simply. the people who need the freeways most are people who need to travel often because they can not afford to stay close to work. These are not the wealthier people in our communities. The nett of this will be people making use of the suburban roads & inner roads (many of which are blocked with gated communities by the those with means). This will clog up the inner roads and cause the accident rate to rise dramatically as the frustrations rise from the jams, exactly what the freeways were designed to alleviate 30 years ago when the freeeways were built. Johannesburg had tremendous traffic jams before that when the car population was a 10th of today's numbers. If anything we should eToll people who use the inner roads where the public transport is an possible alternative, and leave the freeways to do what they are supposed to do. Lastly Tolling e or manual is a very inefficient and bureaucratic way of collecting revenue. South Africa is drowned in bureaucracy already and we do not need this overweight government, it is killing the economy, and making it nigh impossible for small entrepreneurs to survive. Wrong way to go.

  • Victor - 2012-04-30 10:02

    Nazi Alli can pay for it

  • Warwick - 2012-04-30 10:07

    The anc are weak, they were a failed terrorist organization, they are run by incompetent cadres, they are ill informed, arrogant & corrupt - of course they are weak. But, and I stress BUT, we showed how strong the PEOPLE are in resisting this e-toll debacle which is un-workable, unreasonable, expensive & riddled with corruption. No sir, we do not want to pay for this, we never did and were never asked, don't assume we are willing to pay, that is why we fought it. Are you so blind? A strong government never threatens its citizens, but a weak one threatens its subjects. What are you Dawie Roodt? a citizen or subject?

  • brianmacza - 2012-04-30 10:09

    This confuses me... a 100% government owned entity borrows money predominantly from the government, and theres a debt issue? Thats like me lending money to myself and expecting a tax rebate....

      George - 2012-04-30 10:14

      Agreed. Only makes sense if you are a con artist.

      Francois - 2012-05-01 00:20

      It is easily explained, we the people put money into government's pants pocket and they go around moving from left pocket to right pocket, then to back pocket and so on. Biggest problem is those that wear these pants are also pick pockets and have their own hands where they should not be.

  • John - 2012-04-30 10:11

    I really don't believe it will have any effect on a persons decision as to whether they invest in the country. You could also offer a counter argument as to the effectiveness of the democracy. Also interesting that Dawie Roodt didn't offer a solution or alternative to the impasse. The article is a storm in a tea cup.

      Nettie - 2012-04-30 10:35

      John news24 only give very little information It is your own responsibility to read and read other newspapers and discusion on tv and radio. Dawie did give konstraktief alternatives and solutions.

      John - 2012-04-30 11:57

      Thanks Nettie... I'll try get the original article.

      Fanie - 2012-04-30 13:56

      John, must agree with you. This rather looks like Dawie Roodt had to much to drink over the weekend and forgot to get his article in on time. Would government have looked strong if they over rided the courts decision? What will make them strong Dawie?

  • rendaninick.mudau - 2012-04-30 10:11

    No money no life\r\nyou must tax for car

  • stalin.rudolf - 2012-04-30 10:14

    why does the state not build roads through department of public works. i thought its their task as government to ensure that we got all the infrastructure so that we can commute nicley to work and back. casue we pay taxes anywere.

      Zengfuey - 2012-04-30 15:50

      Oh, theyive ridden that horse holrig. Department of Public Works I believe is simply there to keep someone employed and not to actually do anything. Its like Humpty Dumpty - they broke it and now they cannot fix it.

  • paharms - 2012-04-30 10:15

    If you rob Peter to pay Paul, Peter will eventually wake up to your tricks and bite you back!!!

  • Pieter Mulder - 2012-04-30 10:19

    Just a nother goverment project stoped because of misuse of state funds. Nothing of them is working not even the people. Money launderers !!!!!

  • TheMonk - 2012-04-30 10:20

    Mr Roodt, please do not speak for us. You say "People are prepared to pay for tolls, but with conditions." No, we are not prepared to pay for the tolls. You are an economist, not the peoples mouthpiece, so don't make statements on behalf of the "people"

      Belinda - 2012-04-30 12:45

      I reckon the government will be well served if they apply an old truth: "First THINK; then DO"

  • Jim - 2012-04-30 10:24

    Dawie Roodt omitted one adjective in his description of SA government. Weel, confused and INCOMPETENT!!

  • wdvilliers - 2012-04-30 10:31

    It is not only the toll that bites it is the fact that somebody is trying to make huge profits out of this scheme...

  • mark.halbert - 2012-04-30 10:33

    Toll Roads should not be allowed in Urban Areas and this must apply to the whole of SA ----including Chapmans Peak in Cape Town----take note please DA

      Paul - 2012-05-01 08:24

      I think Chapmans Peak is an exception as it is luxury road and exspensive to maintain

  • Dhavandran - 2012-04-30 10:35

    whats new ? we will always be screwed. dress up something old which has already been paid for and says its new.then charge us for it. scamral go and build new roads to speed up traffic and i will gladly pay.don't charge me for something which we already own .

  • Lara - 2012-04-30 10:35

    I think these learned people forget one thing, people cannot afford anymore loads on their budgets. Between arguments of corruption and incompetency, that is the one thing that stands out above all else.

  • RoryKlein - 2012-04-30 10:36

    Dawie Roodt please catch a wake up! I am not investing any money into a company that is not going to keep its earnings inside of South Africa. Secondly I am not going to be ripped off so that a company can make a huge profit from my money. Lastly Dawie I really dont care if our politicians appear weak they created the mess in the first place by making promises and assuming everyone will just cough up and go along while the citizians of SOUTH AFRICA get milked dry. I am not giving this government another cent so that they can milk the coffers and line their own pockets or have another party at my expense. Enough is enough PETROL is going up again in the next couple of days .... time to say no and that timeis NOW! All of us are been exploited for extra tolls, taxes, levies this effects all of as as a nation, us as SOUTH AFRICANS. So whether you are white, black, brown, english, afrikaans, xhosa, zulu and to all the other people that help make up our cosmopolitan nation stand together united and say NO.

  • tinus.olivier.5 - 2012-04-30 10:39

    The politicians in this country do not appear weak, they are WEAK. They preach discipline but never take a solid, tangible stance on corruption. Their lavish parties and wastefull spending of taxpayer money has brought cash strapped citizens of this country to the conclusion that if they don't fight back then they won't have anything left to fight with. Here's to many more succesfull fightbacks from joe the public.

  • Mary - 2012-04-30 10:39

    Of course our country is run by weak people!! A weak man bullies his wife and kids at home instead of standing up at his peers!! The a story on City Press about Limpopo premier and a member of parliament having an empire worth R500 million! They acquired this through fraudulent tenders! And the government has the nerve to say we must pay for E-tolls while they are wasting money on their comrades!!

  • Carolyn - 2012-04-30 10:39

    Government was seen in a bad light overseas long before e-tolls so again they are not to blame for their horrendus incompetence!!!! When will they just go away. They have destroyed every single thing that was working fine beforehand

  • Jacques - 2012-04-30 10:39

    SA dont need politcians, SA need good leaders... good leaders lead people by good example... are the politicians Dawie refer to lead by good example? That is the question every voting SA citizen must ask himself. Billions are mismanaged and then when the bills are due to be paid the man on the street must fork it out... toll roads etc.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-04-30 10:41

    Mr Dawie Roodt, it is more important that people survive financially.

  • john.m.mcdowall - 2012-04-30 10:51

    How much weaker can you get than the Arrogant, Nepotistic, Corruptible government that we already have?

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