E-toll reprieve proves the system is problematic

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) notes with interest the relaxed conditions relating to the payment of e-tolls, as announced by the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, in her Budget Vote speech on Tuesday and urges the public to take note of the following concerns.

16/07/2014 10:44:34

E-toll reprieve proves the system is problematic

“We believe that this announcement serves two purposes, one being another carrot to entice the public buy-in to the ill-conceived scheme,” says OUTA's Chairperson, Wayne Duvenage. “Secondly, we believe the prosecuting authorities have noted an extreme difficulty exists in trying to achieve successful prosecution under the current regulations, terms and conditions. For example, SANRAL must provide the user with an invoice and payment is expected within seven days to qualify for certain benefits, yet how does one, especially businesses, pay within seven days, without an invoice? The Minister’s ‘reprieve’ is in fact further evidence that the system is fundamentally ill-conceived, unworkable and destined for the scrap heap of history.”

OUTA believes that:

  • Offering discounts and making amendments to the e-toll scheme is a case of ‘trying to do an engine overhaul whilst the car is running’. Government needs to halt the scheme and do some deep soul searching as to why the ‘un-roadworthy e-toll vehicle’ was ever allowed on the road in the first place. This is precisely what Premier Makhura’s panel aims to do.

  • Discounts, relaxed conditions and threats of prosecution do not change the fact that e-tolling remains extremely expensive, irrational, inefficient and is not in the best interest of the people of South Africa.

  • That the e-toll decision devoid of meaningful public participation and lacked proper consideration of the costs of collection and viable alternative options, which means that the scheme was therefore introduced unlawfully. Until this matter is addressed, the Government will not regain the willing support of the people on this issue.

OUTA's joint spokesperson and consultant John Clarke adds that the NPA and OUTA share a common interest to promote the Rule of Law and need to work together. “The confusion and distrust caused by the e-toll declaration, has created a wedge between citizens and the State, which must be removed. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for one organ of state to pursue criminal prosecution over unpaid e-toll bills while another organ of state is inviting public engagement to examine the impact that e-tolls is having on the productivity of the region, the social well- being of its people, and the implications for the environment”.

Meanwhile OUTA urges the public to continue to donate to OUTA, so that we can support the first person prosecuted and finally have the unlawfulness arguments of the e-toll declaration ruled upon by the judiciary.  “The very existence of Makhura’s panel at this late stage itself proves OUTA’s case that SANRAL never did what it should have at the outset,” says Clarke.

OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.