Outa: New e-toll dispensation is new desperation | Fin24
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Outa: New e-toll dispensation is new desperation

Jul 02 2015 14:15

Cape Town - The e-tolls issue has gone way beyond rates, Wayne Duvenage of civil action group the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said on Thursday.

"The (opposition against e-tolls in Gauteng) is not about the tariffs but more about the irrationality of the cumbersome scheme which is grossly inefficient and a waste of taxpayers' time and money," Duvenage said in a statement.

According to him the new dispensation on e-tolls by the South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) should be described more aptly as a new desperation.

The first part of the new dispensation on e-tolls, announced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in May, came into effect on Thursday.

According to the new dispensation the monthly cap for Sanral account holders would now be R225, down from R450 per month.

Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said the introduction of the lowered standard tariff, which was now the same as the e-tag tariff, would provide relief to motorists who are not registered.

"We remind road users that all aspects of the new dispensation on the Gauteng e-roads will take place over the next 18 months," he said on Wednesday.

According to him Sanral is working with the transport department to implement the new dispensation, which needs software and operational changes.

The relief announced for road users who do not have a Sanral account would become applicable once changes have been made to the system.

Duvenage said Sanral considered it had all its "ducks in a row" in December 2013 and went ahead with the launch of the e-toll scheme, only to find by June 2014 that it had failed to muster the compliance of 45% of road users despite threats of criminal prosecutions. 

"In short, the scheme failed and today it has less than 25% compliance."

A user-pays scheme of this nature needs in excess of 85% to 90% compliance to succeed, according to Outa.

It said Ramaphosa announced "a relaunch of the defunct scheme, under the guise of a new dispensation with lower rates and easier conditions". Outa pointed out that although the cap has been reduced by 50%, this reduction will have no impact on over 93% of freeway users. 

"Furthermore, the rates that have been reduced are the old standard tariffs which very few people were paying in the first place, meaning that the discounts offered have been a hollow and, are in effect, a meaningless attempt to bring society on board," said Outa.

Licence disc measures

Sanral’s talk of phasing in the scheme in over the next 18 months is a clear indication of its non-readiness and the continued unworkability of the system, said Outa.

It added that Sanral is relying on the successful national implementation of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto) to introduce the enforcement of the withholding of vehicle licences, which it believes will resolve its problems. 

"However, Outa believes that Sanral's problems are far greater than enforcement and the government will be attracting more unintended consequences of this development, if indeed they ever get it right. Many question whether Aarto will ever fly and like e-tolls, this system has missed numerous implementation deadlines over the past seven years," said Outa.

Seen against the backdrop of South Africa's regulatory environment and poor administrative competence, the e-toll scheme will never achieve the required levels of compliance for success, no matter how many millions of taxpayers' rands are pumped into Sanral's advertising campaign, said Outa.

Sanral on Wednesday slammed the naysayers, saying the public must not be misled by organisations criticising the newly gazetted e-toll dispensation.

Mona said account holders are the first to benefit from the new dispensation, with reduced tariffs per kilometre and monthly caps on all classes of vehicles.

outa  |  sanral  |  tolls


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