E-tolls best option for R20bn roads bill

2012-04-25 17:01

Cape Town - E-tolling in Gauteng is the only viable way to pay for the R20bn spent on improving the province’s freeways, Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin said on Wednesday.

“If we could rewind the clock back to 2007, we would not be embarking on this project (Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project) at all. We have made that very clear,” he told MPs during debate in parliament on his department’s budget vote.

“However, alas, there is R20bn debt. It’s been incurred on phase A1 (of the projec)]. It’s about 180km (of road).”

Cronin, who said any further spending on the project had “categorically” been put on hold, said paying off the project debt by increasing the fuel levy was not an option.

Doing so would be unfair to people living in other parts of the country, who would be paying for infrastructure in Gauteng.

He also ruled out a dedicated Gauteng fuel levy, suggesting it was too onerous and costly to administer.

Cronin was responding to a call made earlier in the house by the Democratic Alliance’s Ian Ollis, to implement a small fuel levy to cover the cost of the project.

Ollis told MPs that his party would, if it was in government, immediately cancel the Gauteng e-toll.

Ollis described Gauteng’s e-toll system, which is set to come into effect at the end of the month, as “the world’s most expensive toll collection system“.

He said it would cost over R1bn a year just to collect the fees.

“By comparison, a small fuel levy would only cost R4m per annum to administer and the rest of the money could be put to improving the actual roads,” Ollis said.

Cronin agreed that “the particular tolling option that has gone forward is very expensive“.

He further said the government appreciated that there was “great unhappiness” over the introduction of e-tolling, and said he empathised with Cosatu which has called on its members to make the tolls unworkable.

Service debt

Opening the debate on Wednesday, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said South Africa had a responsibility to service the debt incurred when the project to improve the road network in the province was implemented.

“It is now public knowledge that South Africa has a financial obligation of R20bn to this effect, escalating to R32bn with interest over the next couple of years.

“Failure to honour this obligation will adversely affect our country’s credit rating.”

Ndebele said he was “encouraged” by the fact that, to date, a total of 501 245 e-tags had been sold.

The transport department received an overall R39bn budget allocation for this financial year, which will rise to R48bn by 2014/15.

About R18bn of this is earmarked for roads.

  • zipho500 - 2012-04-25 17:08

    How about nothing from me Mr Crooked?

      Christelle - 2012-04-25 17:12

      If I am not mistaken, there was a report of about R19.2 billion unaccounted for/unexplained expenditure by the government - by now I can imagine it is getting closer to R30b. That could have paid for this!! When are the people going to open their eyes and give the government a vote of non-confidence. (for the people who do not know, and who should really know -it means DO NOT VOTE FOR THESE GUYS AGAIN)

      Koos - 2012-04-25 17:20

      Wrong Jeremy Cronin: Adding some 5c or 10c per liter would have paid for it. * With zero collection fees * with all the money staying in the country * withhout people avoiding highways (using more fuel and spending more time on the road) * without overbudening alternative routes (which in turn will require extra maintenance...) I smell corruption...

      Koos - 2012-04-25 18:00

      Also Cronin and cronies: "...fuel levy, suggesting it was too onerous and costly to administer..." This is a blatant lie. You can fool some of your voter sheeple some of the time. But you can't fool all of us all the time.

      amanda.victor2 - 2012-04-26 00:58

      What happened to all the money that was left in the road fund from the petrol levy paid for by the public? Stolen! Now they use pension money illegally to finance roads already paid for by the public. Now they need money to re-pay the pensions. SCAM SCAM SCAM. This is so disgusting. Rape of a country on a huge scale and Zuma lets this happen. What kind of a President does this to his own country? They must think we're really stupid.

  • Lougiwa - 2012-04-25 17:11

    SA wanted to fix the roads up for 2010 fifa world cup, it is not our expense to pay for the bills, whos gonna pay for corruption-the public

      spartanx93 - 2012-04-25 17:36

      South Africa had some of the best road systems in the world before the ANC took over. As usual, they ANC lets infrastructure deteriorate to such a point that it will cost 10 of billions to repair and maintain. So not the tax payer has to fit the bill for the ANC's stuff up! To hell with the ANC!!

      Gerald - 2012-04-25 22:21

      @spartan you're lucky in yr world they do repair and maintain. we've seen enough dumb schoolkids getting millions to play around there in pink floral shirts and big suv's "fixing roads".

      SarelJBotha - 2012-10-19 16:48

      Use the profits you received from FIFA to pay. No human in RSA agreed to this or contracted with these idiots. I believe a peaceful resistance action is needed, so let us all pay with small coins at any toll gate. It will make it difficult for them to administer and not worth the effort.

  • Brandt - 2012-04-25 17:12

    Strange how all the roads was built in the past and there were no toll roads...and a lot less tax payers then. That is before 94.

      Johnathon - 2012-04-25 23:17

      E-tolling is nothing more than 1 tax too far. The last straw that broke the camel’s back. British Govt kept increasing taxes continuously until economy went into nosedive. People had no money left to buy TV's. Furniture, clothes. quality foods, wine, beer, cars,holidays,curtains anything you want to name. Taxes had to be reduced so that British economy could survive. Same thing happening here. All we have to do is ignore SANRAL completely for 2 months, and they will explode at the seams. Ali predicted 7% default rate, which others worked out to result in 2.1 million court summonses per month. Take what I could believe listening to news 24 comments, 80% default. This relates to 25 million court summonses per month. If SANRAL account, or any fine they place on you does not arrive registered post as prescribed by AARTO, just bin it and say summons / fine / empty SANRAL threat never ever received by you. They cannot prove a thing legally. Also ask for copy of each toll photo, and require it sent registered mail. With all false number plates, you have every right to demand this. Also have plenty cans of mace in car to spray SANRAL thugs, who all of a sudden have been given powers of search, seizure and arrest. Just what lengths of illegality can SANRAL sink too. Police require probably 2 years at police college, and 2 yrs on job training, before they are ever given such legal powers. Just pepper spray all SANRAL thugs.

  • Danie - 2012-04-25 17:12

    Take the goverments annuul entertainment budgets and spending and food and rink and this will cover it within2-3 years

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-25 17:13

    Isn't this guy a leader of the SA Communist Party? Sounds like a communist idea

      enlightened.bowman - 2012-10-19 18:23

      Charles you are quite right in your statement however, I have just one issue and, let me make it clear, I am an unadulterated anti communist BUT To be a communist, you HAVE to have read at least Marx and Engels to have just a basic idea of their approach to economy. I somehow refuse to believe any of them have read and understood any of that. They are just not in that league. They simply use the "power to the people" as a tool to get the uneducated masses to vote for them. I think you give these buffoons a credit they don't deserve

  • Angus Leach - 2012-04-25 17:14

    So where is my tax money going to?

      Johnathon - 2012-04-25 23:57

      I have heard that SANRAL has already completely lost 50 000 e-tag applications, and have asked those concerned to please re-apply. This incompetence evident, even before the system has kicked off. I just so pity those that have bought e-tags and given SANRAL carte blanch access to their credit card or bank account. Boetie, you are going to sweat blood after SANRAL starts taking all sorts of wrong amounts off your account. SANRAL in all its arrogance, has already announced that it will not be interested in any motorist who claims to have been unfairly charged. It is completely up to the motorist to prove beyond any reasonable doubt, that SANRAL is actually at fault. Very good luck to all those idiots out there, who shivered at SANRAL'S ugly, empty, threats. You lucky guys will probably be having all sorts of wonderful amounts deducted off your account, even though SANRAL may have then already been forced to scrap e-tolling completely. It will be their last desperate effort to try and reduce the billions upon billions, they will already have lost. Stand together, or we will all fall together.

  • Irene - 2012-04-25 17:19

    Taking 3.6million out of the economy is going to kill us! Higher transport costs for all deliveries etc will push up the price of every single item we buy!! And most of what they get goes to admin costs!! Time Govt officials stole less, then everything would run smoothly....

  • Carry - 2012-04-25 17:19


  • robert.krumm - 2012-04-25 17:20

    Getting payment from the e-toll system will be like pulling teeth. Fair or not, adding to the fuel levy is the only real choice left. And let it be so, let every single citizen of this country see and feel how you have wasted their money. Let them feel the effects of your wilful ignorance and stupidity on their families, on their quality of life, on the costs of their basic goods, on the costs of getting to work and back.

      Griffen - 2012-04-27 15:12

      And while sitting with your despair ponder on how to use your vote the next time the opportunity arises. If voting for the opposition is not an option, then consider spoiling your vote to register your protest.

  • brendon.lieberz - 2012-04-25 17:21

    How much money was actually spent on the roads and how much money went straight to the back pocket?

  • George - 2012-04-25 17:23

    They keep on coming out of the woodwork. DO NOT REGISTER. NO E_TAG, DON'T PAY FOR WHAT IS ALREADY YOURS. He hasn't heard the 'other' minister say they will collect R70 billion. See when you're in govmnt, a billion here and a billion there is no big deal when compliant public a re there to fleece.

  • Gerry - 2012-04-25 17:24

    Work it out... Some rough calculations. A reported average of 150 000 cars DAILY travelling the mentioned 180km of road , multiplied by roughly 250 work days in a year. Multiplied by the Rand per km charged... EISH. I wish I had shares in the Etoll!!! But, i live in good old Cape Town... Darn!! :(

  • guy.rice - 2012-04-25 17:25

    Gauteng contributes 30% of the counry's GDP. If other people in the country dont want to contribute through the fuel levy to Gauteng's roads then lets ringfence the Gauteng contribution to the fuel levy and pay for our own roads and let them finance their own roads.

  • Gogs Lombard - 2012-04-25 17:26

    This really angers me. Once again the ANC have screwed up and the already over-taxed citizens have to bail them out. Too many promises were made behind closed doors. Save face ANC and drop eTolls. Who is more important, your Austrian partners or the citizens of South Africa?

      SarelJBotha - 2012-10-19 16:51

      Their own pockets is all they care about.

  • Chien-Teng - 2012-04-25 17:27

    BS I say! Where has all the money that were allocated for standard/normal road maintenance has gone to? Each department has been allocated a certain amount of money to function, same as the Transport Department... so when there is no road maintenance that us the normal Joe in the street can witness and the thousands upon thousands of potholes in question, and zero, effective public transport system to speak of, where has all the accumulated, allocated budget for road maintenance has gone to? So don't US that you didn't have the money! The Gautrain works because it is guaranteed that the user don't sit in traffic (minus the glitches and the queues)... We are still sitting in traffic in the new "IMPROVED" highway and certain part of the route in the East Rand hasn't even been completed yet! A bunch of thieves trying to squeeze every cent out of its citizen!!! DESPICABLE!!!!

  • tobydt - 2012-04-25 17:27

    R20 billion? R10 less than our annual corruption.

  • Izak Furstenberg - 2012-04-25 17:29

    So nobody has an issue with the fact that parts of the 180km road built have pans of water not draining properly during rainstorms? 18 bn not exactly justifiable for what we got.

  • guy.rice - 2012-04-25 17:34

    Show me the accountability!!!! Who has been fired for this!!!! Fire Nazi Alli!!!!!

  • Hallo - 2012-04-25 17:34

    The argument that it would be unfair to make the rest of the country pay for the new roads holds no water you commie. Gauteng accounts for almost 50% of the country's GDP. Therefore the rest of the country is indirectly benefiting. Yet the people of most productive province are the ones directly footing the bill. Whereas if this charge was simply added to the fuel bill the entire country would be paying and most likely be able to fund new roads for the entire country and not just GP. There would also be no need to pay for toll collecting mechanism which would mean no money constantly trickling out of the country.

  • Quintin - 2012-04-25 17:39

    There were already highways there before this upgrade project started right? Where did the then government get the money from to build them in the first place without tolls???? Why can't this government do the same? Just asking...

      Gerry - 2012-04-25 18:02

      Quintin, Thats is a very good question. Let me answer you: Before 1994 ...

  • Richard - 2012-04-25 17:40

    Bollocks. SA used to have the best roads all paid from tax money. Now we need extra taxes to pay for it. Essentially these roads were done for the soccer world cup that was going to bring so much wealth to our country. It certainly did for the ones that got the tenders to build stadiums and now roads that need to be paid for. Consider that 20% of the tax base is lost to corruption then surely we have enough money to pay for everything if the fat cats would just stop stealing it from their own people. I am white so if you wanna steal it from me I can still understand it but from your own people. These people trusted you to look after them. Remember the liberation struggle was for all the people not just the fat cats. Anybody ever read Animal Farm by George Orwell. Same story.

  • msfletcher1 - 2012-04-25 17:40

    It might be time for Jeremy Cronin and his buddies in the ANC/SACP/COSATU Alliance to take a drastic cut in pay to about R400,000 per annum until this mess is finally paid up. The president can get R420,000, just because he's president, That's more than enough for a South African to live on. The money saved from this can be used to pay the R20bn the country owes.

  • Leonard - 2012-04-25 17:43

    They will make 20Billion in 2 years, do u think they will then stop the tolling? I think not, money making racket if u ask me

  • Gregory - 2012-04-25 17:44

    A better way to pay is use the money government steals , for that amount we could have the best roads in the world.

  • grant.hide - 2012-04-25 17:47

    Who Allowed the 20 Billion Quotation through, That person must have his life investigated for not consulting the public. The quotation and bill must be nullified as it is us that must pay for it, therfore us who must decide if we want it. Guess what, we don't want it.

  • John - 2012-04-25 17:48

    Toll roads was originally to transport the dead, if didn't pay you would not go to heaven.

  • Zakes - 2012-04-25 17:52

    this is a day light roberry, whats gonna happen after we settle that R20bn?

  • ivan.leon2 - 2012-04-25 17:53

    Jönköping based Kapsch TrafficCom AB, a subsidiary of Vienna listed Kapsch AG, has been awarded a contract to install and operate the Gauteng province’s new free flow toll system as lead partner in the South African toll road consortium Electronic Toll Collection joint venture (ETC). The value of the installation part of the ground breaking contract is ZAR 1.16billion (SEK 1.03 billion). The contract, awarded by the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL), is the first free flow system in South Africa and the first SA Government tender worth more than ZAR 1 billion awarded to a Swedish based company since the awarding of the Gripen jetfighters ten years ago.

      Adam - 2012-04-25 18:12

      ivan, I think the smoke is thick and the mirrors fogged up with anc lust.

      George - 2012-04-25 19:08

      Maybe we can use the Grippens to take out the gantries. Any able bodied pilots around?

      amanda.victor2 - 2012-04-26 01:07

      Payback to Sweden for their anti-apartheid support? Yes, yes it is.

  • Gerda Malherbe - 2012-04-25 18:14

    Oh how lovely to be a communist in the new SA, hey, mr Cronin. Its only words...

  • Assim - 2012-04-25 18:16

    Minister Cronin must knows that Gauten is the leader of all the provences in our country so he should not be woried if other provences have to pay 4 de services or impproving its infrastructure after all, that is where OR Tambointernational airport, the union building and the president receive the country's guest.

  • paul.fevrier - 2012-04-25 18:17

    It's amazing what Jeremy Cronin has to say depending on which hat he's wearing! If it's the deputy minister hat then tolls are the only viable way to pay for the improvemnts yet, if it's the Cosatu hat, then he's vehemently opposed to the toll roads. What a farce! Jeremy, you can't sit on the fence, you need to grow a pair and decide which side you're on!

  • David - 2012-04-25 18:32


      George - 2012-04-25 19:10


  • James - 2012-04-25 19:12

    The Deputy Minister is talking crap. The roads were maintained to a great extent prior to the government embarking on the project anyway. At the time of them proposing the improvement project, many people suggested that they simply increase the number of on and off ramps leading from and to the highways but this was ignored. This would have been a far cheaper option that could have been implemented in stages and controlled spending adding the on and off ramps when funds were available. I completely agree with the other comments of corruption being evident and the fact that we should keep the money in the country so as to benefit our own people. At the end of the day, the government is there to serve the people, not vice versa. So my message to everyone is this: Stand up for yourselves and say NO to e-Tolling. And for SANRAL to come back and say that Gauteng road users must pay because they are the ones that benefit from the roads is seriously short sighted. Gauteng accounts for more than half of the entire country's GDP and without the proper infrastructure in the economic hub of the country then it affects the rest of the population too. Surely they must realise that Corporate Head Offices that are housed in Gauteng carry offices and businesses that are based in other provinces? The government and SANRAL must not expect Gauteng tax payers to pay twice for the roads - that's the whole point!

  • Anton - 2012-04-25 20:48

    Minister Jeremy Cronin. No! No! No! You cannot continue to mismanage our government and money like that and expect us to pay. WE WON'T PAY! You should first sort your self’s out. Get rid of the corrupt and incompetent that are in government first. Treating the symptoms does not solve the problem! There will be just another “Sorry we made a mistake” . It make no sense to pour milk into a leaking bucket. And this one has a giant hole in it.

  • George - 2012-04-26 02:37

    There, spoken like a true commie. What is mine is mine and what is yours is mine. North Korea awaits your esteemed presence and intellectual contribution.

  • Bulelwa - 2012-04-26 06:20

    if only R18bn of an overall R39bn budget allocation for this financial year [which will rise to R48bn by 2014/15] is earmarked for roads, where does the money go?

  • Warwick - 2012-04-26 08:49

    Economics coming from this Red? It's like having a clown called John Wayne Gacy at your kiddie’s party and expecting it to go smooth. You did this without consulting the public and were hoping we would fold, but no, we stand firm. To hell with you and you commie claptrap - what the heck do you know about road infrastructure anyway you cadre deployed chop?

  • Hugh - 2012-04-26 09:08

    How about explaining how it cost you R111,111,111.00 per Km to do an upgrede????? (R20Bil for 180Km of roads upgrade) That means your entire budget for the entire country this year will only cover 160Km of roads???? I smell Shabier Sheiks like stench mixed with curry here........

      Hugh - 2012-04-26 09:10

      Upgrade, sorry, blind rage affects my eyesight.

  • Maki - 2012-04-26 09:18

    Very Funny he, public knew you were upgrading this Roads for 2010 world cup, worse you want to take our money to pay a foreign company for upgrading this Roads , if it was a Local Company maybe i will consider paying for that, take money from all corrupt officials and pay this debts, leave us alone, nog al Petrol is going up next month, what do you take the public for ?

  • hein.whelan - 2012-04-26 09:25

    I have had about enough of this BS! Here are some facts for everyone out there. The SAPIA annual report for 2010 ( the following figures; 2009 (2010's figures were not available at the time of release of the report) there was 11.7 bn liters of petrol retailed in SA, 9.1 bn liters of diesel (retail). Now add those together and multiply by 0.28 (e-toll fuel levy) and you will get a nice idea of the amount recovered towards the R20bn loan for this cockup. It will with the current levy only take approximately 4 years to pay off the debt excl interest. However, if they renegotiate the interest on the balance of the loan annually they it would be far less. If you have bought an e-tag you are traitor and just plain daft. I have a suggestion. This weekend go to the major shopping centers where they have these e-tag booths and look at the queues of traitors, arm yourself with paper leaflets containing facts such as the figures above. You would have to have the IQ of a bath plug to not figure out that this e-toll system is a straight out goatse (google it) of the Gauteng residents and I for one will be civilly disobedient to the end. Who is with me?

  • Julian - 2012-04-26 10:22

    "communist liar"

  • luke.krishna - 2012-04-26 13:31

    the goverment should all take a cut in salary, bonuses and allowances, they must also pay for everthing that a normal citizen pays for. They want equality in everthing," how about every SOUTH AFRICAN earning a MILLION pa or pm.. " then we all, will be able to pay for everthing.

  • luke.krishna - 2012-04-26 13:42

    with this government,it is forever the issue ,"shortage of money",'I wonder if all that bribery money from the arms deal recovered, it could free this debt once and for all.

  • hilary.mowatt2 - 2012-04-26 18:04

    If the motor vehicle licence fees were raised to the same level as that which is paid in the Western Cape (the highest of all the Provinces), then there would be sufficient funds for maintainance of roads and the construction of new roads. E-tolling would not be necessary.

  • alan.erwin1 - 2012-04-29 14:43

    Cancel the 16 billion rand order for the jet aircrafts wanted by Zuma and his gang and that leaves only 4 billion still needed. Cut out the parties – holidays – new expensive cars – expensive house revamps – weddings – etc etc etc and you will soon find more than 4 billion

  • Louw - 2012-04-30 10:48

    Cronin says it would be unfair to people living in other parts of the country, who would be paying for infrastructure in Gauteng. Why then is Gauteng paying more for petrol due to pipeline costs from Durban to Gauteng. Why can't they add a fuel levy only in the Gauteng area, if you visit Gauteng from KZN you most probably will up in Gauteng thus paying for making use of the "toll roads"

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-10-19 16:45

    Cronin, we the taxpayer and road user did not ask for this, not have a contract with you or the people who built this road. Under common law, yes we are under common law, we have the right to use roads for free and transport goods for free. If this is not true, please make an affidavit, stating your position on this common law right clearly.

  • enlightened.bowman - 2012-10-19 18:15

    Have the flatliners even remotely sat down to think of an alternative? ofcourse not. They simply cant! Someone abroad realised that to con these learned intellctuals into buying this crap would be as easy as convincing a five year old to take a sweet. Now they sit with it and simply have absolutely no idea what to do. I can assue you that none of them can even begin to fathom the magnitude of 20 billion. Perhaps we must try to explain to the spear how many wives and out of wedlock children he can support with that money.

  • King Shaimus Morwanza - 2015-03-04 23:05

    S.A should have business people in government. They have money so they won't steal our mulla

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