E-tolls to be retained on GFIP

Further dispensations but compliance to be strengthened.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni: ‘I urge the nation to please pay your bills.’ Image: Moneyweb

The government has decided to retain the user-pay principle and e-tolls on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

The decision is virtually certain to result in an intensification of the e-tolls dispute and confrontation between government and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).

Read: Sanral e-toll revenue slumps 63% in year to March 2019

It would appear that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has also won the e-toll battle with Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who earlier this year in his State of the Province address repeated that e-tolls would be scrapped.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to head a task team to report to him on the options on the table with regard to e-tolls by the end of August, also appears not to have achieved the ‘win-win’ solution for government and society that was his publicly stated aim.

‘Value-added services’ to come

However, Mboweni said on Wednesday in his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) speech that there would be a further dispensation and value-added services while compliance would also be strengthened.

“Cabinet has considered several options to resolve the impasse over the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project,” he said. “Government has decided to retain the user-pay principle.

“Not paying your tolls has already led to our roads deteriorating. We have been unable to maintain the network.

“I urge the nation to please pay your bills.

“We need to build a culture of payment, as government services can only be sustainable if all of us that can pay for services, do so,” he said.

E-toll payment compliance levels are currently estimated to be at about 30%, with Outa maintaining that global evidence suggests that compliance levels of 95% and higher are required for a toll road project to be successful.

Wayne Duvenage, the chief executive of Outa, stressed in July this year when Mbalula was appointed to head the task team that e-tolls could not be resurrected and indicated that the organisation was willing to assist government in finding legitimate solutions to end the e-tolls impasse.

The alternatives

These solutions included renegotiating the debt with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC); terminating the collections contract with Electronic Toll Collections (ETC) because this was a massive and unnecessary cost; and reassessing the national budget to include allocations by National Treasury towards debt, including a possible allocation from the fuel levy.

The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has since 2014/15 incurred annual average losses of R1 billion and is not generating sufficient cash from its toll portfolio to settle operational costs and debt redemptions falling due over the next three years.

Government has extended a total guarantee facility of R38.9 billion to Sanral, of which R30.3 billion had been used by end-March this year.

Over the medium term, Sanral is expected to repay R10.7 billion of maturing debt obligations and R10.8 billion worth of interest payments.

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Prove they’re legal and I’ll pay. Stop pussyfooting around with civil summonses and charge someone criminally so we can take your unlawful system to the courts.

Beats me why government is so keen on war with its middle-class taxpayers who are the only thing between it and the IMF, but if that’s what they want * shrug *.

Taxpayers in SA are outnumbered. One of the few and perhaps only countries in the world where that is so.

So they are an easy and also impotent target.

But ultimately no country can win a war against its taxpayers.
Or rather no country can survive a war betweeb its govt and its taxbase.
One or the other will be destroyed and ultimately the country that was.
At this stage, I may not live to see it, but I honestly no longer care about whether SA survives.
The idea of what this country could be died a long time ago, many of us were just not prepared to admit it.
And perhaps that is no bad thing. Might even be the only kindness for tomorrow’s children that the present SA generation can leave them. A generation at last unshackled and free from the trap that is South Africa.

God I am in a bleak mood tonight…apologies for the ramble. Went off on tangent there

I am 100% behind the user pay principle but on condition that I do not foot the admin and collection fee bill, which is exorbitant and does not benefit South Africa. The initial collection costs were reduced to induce us to pay up. They knew they were taking us for a RIDE. Subsequently SANRAL further reduced the toll costs. The long RIDE awaits us and now we will wait and see the outcome.

I am also 100% behind the user pay principal but if this principal is applied fairly if one does not use one should not pay. So since I do not receive a social grant I should not pay for them, as I do not use government schools and hospitals I should not pay for them. Considering that I do not think that I get anything of value from the government the user pay principal would result in my tax bill being reduced to zero.

Another black hole where anything put into it disappears into the system of fat salaries and big bonuses for doing not one productive piece of work each year. At least they can cancel the ETC contract and save millions.

It’s pretty hard to urge people to pay their bills they cant read them in the dark, eh, you champions.

Just as soon as the residents of Soweto start paying for their electricity, comrade, I’ll start paying.

How can one tolling scheme put the whole of Sanral at risk? Shows how ill conceived it was from the start.

E-Toll, the perennial political deception project. Born out of corruption and unsustainable with a perfectly viable alternative in place.

The fuel levy generates R80 billion rand per annum.
Ringfence it and there is more than enough to pay for the roads.
Its also completely brutally fair and there is no eacaping it.
Theres no need for further tolls.

Of course the key is ringfence — which means not appropriating it for Eskom, SAA and the rest of the communist holy relics.

Why because we are easy targets…..sure every user including taxis, when they abide by the rules of road, these are the idiots teaching commuters of tomorrow how to drive no wonder the Road accident fund is bankrupt, renew vehicle licenses, the drivers renew every year their licenses as public transport drivers are required to do by law, roadworthy their vehicles and pay taxes on the billions of revenue the government overlooks.

End of comments.

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