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No running away from e-tolls

Transport minister says there is a lot to consider in the e-toll debate, but doing away with it entirely is not on the table.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says there are no easy solutions to the demand that e-tolling in Gauteng be scrapped because the debt incurred by the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) still has to be paid off.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Southern African Transport Conference on Monday, Mbalula spoke of the importance of a “win-win” solution for government and society. He asked “how do we meet each other half-way in this?” and touched on how government is managing and dealing with all the challenges it faces.

Mbalula says there are many things government is looking at but that, in the main, it is responding to the demand that the government must scrap e-tolls.

Challenges

“If we do away with e-tolls, not e-tolls in particular but the gantries because you still have e-tolls all over in terms of our national roads, there are challenges and how do we overcome those challenges?

“It’s a hard debate. It’s robust. Treasury is hard on the discussion because of what they are confronted with.”

Mbalula says the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) needs to have the capacity to borrow, but cannot borrow any more, which affects South Africa’s credit rating and how the rating agencies look at the country. He adds that these are issues government is interrogating in looking at a solution and that “the demand on the table is like a gun facing us that we must do away with the gantries”.

Task team appointed

Mbalula says President Cyril Ramaphosa has established a task team (led by the minister of transport) that must report to him on the options on the table with regard to e-tolls. He says there will be a comprehensive response from the task team by the end of August, but stressed that this is not “a yes-or-no question”.

Mbalula says that if e-tolls on the GFIP were scrapped, they had to interrogate where they would get the money from to service the debt “because the debt is not going to go away”.

“Those are the realities. We are hard at work and we will have a team of experts working under the ministers. We will interrogate all the options. There will be no holy cows.

“At the end we will come up with a solution to this particular matter because we have heard the demands of our people.”

Leaders in a tweet fight

Fierce disagreement and debate over e-tolls between finance minister Tito Mboweni and Gauteng premier David Makhura played out on Twitter at the weekend, leading to Ramaphosa instructing the two to work together to find a solution.

This followed Makhura, in his state of the province address last Monday (July 1) repeating that e-tolls would be scrapped, resulting in Mboweni tweeting that users of the e-toll system must pay. Mboweni warned Makhura not to “pick a fight” with the finance minister, who is in charge of provincial allocations.

“I am certain that the Premier of Gauteng knows that you have to be careful before you pick up a fight with a National Minister of Finance. The one who controls allocations! I would be careful if I were him,” he tweeted.

Makhura responded with the tweet: “I have referred the e-tolls matter to President@CyrilRamaphosa for final resolution; My engagements [with] him and Minister@MbalulaFikile have been positive. Minister@tito_mboweni can continue to tweet as he cooks; he is a Minister, not the President. #NoTurningBack.”

A ‘sensitive matter’

Mbalula said on Monday that he was not going to respond to public spats, adding that it is unfortunate for a matter like e-tolls to be reduced to a Twitter discussion when “it is a sensitive matter because communities feel very hurt about this and we need to persuade them to a certain extent if we have to”.

Mbalula says Mboweni became angry before the recent general election when certain things in terms of Sanral’s user-pay policy were cancelled.

“He [Mboweni] has got all the reasons to be angry and to guide us in terms of the solution. Let’s not undermine that because he is minister of finance. Where you get a minister of finance that agrees to everything, this country will go down.

“We will negotiate hard with them [Treasury] … but they must equally understand that we need a solution to this matter,” he said.

Outa has a plan …

Wayne Duvenage, chief executive of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), says e-tolls cannot be resurrected and that Outa is willing to assist government in finding legitimate solutions to end the impasse.

Its proposal regarding settling the e-toll debt includes:

  • Renegotiating the debt with the Public Investment Corporation,
  • Terminating the collections contract with Electronic Toll Collections because this is seen as a massive and unnecessary cost, and
  • Reassessing the national budget to include allocations by Treasury towards the debt, including a possible allocation from the fuel levy.

Duvenage says the organisation also believes Sanral may be owed more revenue from the profits made by the three main toll concessionaires on long-distance tolled routes and has urged Treasury to investigate these contracts and reclaim the funds owed to Sanral.

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Nazir Alli and his tame Sanral board will be remembered for the sweatheart deals concluded with road construction companies, which resulted in the world’s most expensive freeways and trashing Sanral reputation.

Too many BEE deals. They should have listened to OUTA to increase the petrol price in ring fenced areas; finish and klaar. Mr. Ali gave a lame excuse that they cannot control allocation of monies this way. Imbecile, thinks we cannot budget and do maths.

The ANC at national level decided to impose this unnecessary mechanism by force onto Gauteng residents as a way to corrupt money away through over-procurement.

Every “second” year a new minister, just like a nest of rats, everything has a stinking smell to it. Every time a new minister leaves office, the smell gets worse. Taxpayers are brutally exploited year after year.

Not only by the ANC. In Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria, the DA is attempting to gouge their ratepayers by stealthy extra rates, fees and taxes. SA’s politicians clearly agree about one thing: the taxpayer is there to be milked and plundered.

PUBLISH THE PEOPLE THAT SIGNED OFF ON THIS MAJOR SCREW UP !!!All that profit leaving the country. One has to wonder who got “PAID” for accepting this farce?? They should be charged and fired. Not put on suspension with pay until they get found guilty (maybe) in five years!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you not read any of the articles about South Africans leaving the country ???

People now from all walks of life are imagrating Or running away. The tax burden and lack of service are the driving force.

SA is fast becoming the world’s most expensive country to live in. Ask the Zimbabs how they feel about paying R30 for a loaf of bread when it is available.

If it were that important to pay etolls fees then it would simply be linked to the renewal of your vehicle license. When you have outstanding fines you are unable to renew your vehicle license.

If this simple solution can’t be implemented then it shows tensions and other motives linked to etolls.

By linking you will open the number of cars without proper license. Car and drive.
By not linking it remain a public secret.

That wouldn’t work, because it would lead to a court challenge, in which it is very likely the system would be declared unlawful.

Why else would SANRAL have failed (after nearly 6 years) to lay criminal charges against a single motorist for failure to pay toll? Simple: because they know they would almost certainly lose.

I reckon e-tolls was always a scam to offshore big chunks of cash to foreign accounts where it could be rerouted as part of the state capture looting project / flow back to fund the ANC.

It’s the only plausible reason why something so obviously wrong was enacted in the first place.

Now like Eskom, the chickens come home to roost on the diminishing number of taxpayers.

If you split 800bn over 1,5m taxpayers you get R 533k each. That’s why kieswetter is coming after you. This is now money we owe to the state, and we’d all better pay up.

Can’t get it from the Gupta’s, and besides, they’ve blown a lot of it on weddings.

Law abiding citizens are always easy pickings…
They will tax us to death…. truth be told, at the end of it all they have nothing to show for it… THEY CAN’T TAKE IT WITH THEM, THEY WILL LEAVE IT HERE.

Good news this time. Kieswetter for president, my SARS return was submitted a few days ago and believe it or not a refund was paid without request for audit. Wits will be happy too, now I can pay university fees for my daughter.

Tax returns, and all government services are supposed to be done within a day or 2.
SA government has this slowdown guilt feeling mentality for not providing proper services.

So Mr Fixit has referred e-tolls to his boss to fix. Smooth move by the subordinate.

Leaving it to a premier under whose very nose at least 150 vulnerable patients were starved and neglected to death is simply not an option.

But alas, the president is too visionary, virtuous and above all too savvy to do anything about anything.

I wonder if this turkey has any knowledge of the law of prescription – best he reads up about it before blathering of about collection of outstanding amounts

Fikile wouldn’t even make junior management in any listed company but in the ANC he is a minister. I guess that says it all.

Perhaps he means the outstanding amounts within the past three years? Because anything older than that is gone. SANRAL cannot recover it. They cannot even legally attempt to recover it.

This is what happens when you wrap up an ex-government department as private enterprise: it becomes a civil debt which prescribes after three years. Whereas if you kept the function within government and charged for it as a tax, prescription is 30 years.

Ditto for SANRAL thinking they would be cute and circumvent the “credit provider” issue of their post-paid tolls system by applying for an exemption from the NCA. It looked good on paper, but the problem is – as they’ve just found out – they can’t blacklist non-payers.

SANRAL keeps tripping over the fact that they are too clever by half.

This all goes back to spending money we never had.

A silly little 3de world country trying to host the soccer world cup. On top of everything else we bribed people for the privilege.

You selling RSA short. With this mentality one could never progress. Did you not take a loan to finance your car and house? Infrastructure spend is done the same way.

No I did not qualify for a loan and nor did RSA.

It is about being able to pay the loan back. RSA cant.

Taxpayers were inveigled into supporting the hosting of the World Cup by promises of the infrastructure benefits it would bring to SA – especially the upgrading of the highways. Nobody suggested we had to pay for them – if that was the case we wouldn’t have needed the World Cup in the first place. So again the ANC lied to the taxpaying public. Surprise.

Apparently much of the eToll business benefits businesses (some) outside the country, e.g France.
And this, one understands, is the reason of the reluctance of local *business community* to eTolls and nothing to do with the reasons they are publicly mentioning.

“user must pay” is govt policy according to Tito. Surely this also applies to electricity and water in many areas that don’t pay.

It’s not government policy. Allow me to quote directly from Recommendation 21 of the Presidential Review Committee on State-Owned Entities report:

“Funding of social infrastructure, including roads,should have less reliance on the ‘user pays’ principle, and more on taxes.”

Mboweni is utterly clueless about this issue. He is just parroting stuff he’s heard.

The etoll deal was done with overseas companies who were subsequently PROVEN to have paid bribes in the nefarious Arms Deal. It was clearly a scam to profit members of the ANC. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Mboweni can blather on all he like about ‘etolls must be paid’ – but the simple fact is that 75 PERCENT OF USERS OF THE ETOLLED ROADS ARE NOT PAYING. Their accumulated debt can NEVER be collected from them. So do what OUTA suggests. Terminate the deal with the ETC – a huge unnecessary cost. And sell the damn gantries for scrap. They are a monument to ANC corruption.

Fikile talks so much, but never really says anything. I have found myself keeping a notepad handy close to the TV, so whenever he makes a speech I hope to jot down something new and significant.The page is still blank…

If you recorded words out of context in the wrong place your list would be long.

We are paying for e-tolls (and by now have probably already finished paying for them) in the form of hugely increased fuel taxes. Now we are to pay all over again?

There are indications that the SANRAL is profiling who they choose to prosecute under e-Tolls.

Makes you wonder.

There are no such indications. S27 of the SANRAL Act allows prosecution for non-payment of toll and regardless of whether they charge Granny Smith or a multinational, the defence is the same: GFIP was unlawfully planned and built.

That’s why SANRAL hasn’t (and won’t) charge anyone. They are scared they will lose. They have a spectacular legal team and aren’t scared to litigate in the civil courts, but haven’t laid a single criminal charge. Since there is already a court judgment showing that SANRAL didn’t comply with the relevant NEMA provisions, they obviously don’t want some public prosecutor coming up against a well-funded team of top advocates who will put the final nail in the coffin.

“debt incurred by the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) still has to be paid off.”

Was paid up and then the Zuptas took all. It’s only 20B. How much did the looters get away with? 6B in one SAA flight.

With VAT and interest, it’s closer to R100bn. The roads cost R22bn (capital cost only, ex-VAT, in 2012 Rands) and the tolling infrastructure and VPC cost R33bn.

Only success this “minister” ever had was helping zuma get elected, so thanks for that “Honorable” Fikile!! What a guy! Just time standing between you and and another failure “Honorable” Mbalulu!

Because of a shockingly inefficient and incompetent Government ordinary citizens already pay twice for policing (because the police are useless private security is needed), for schooling (because public schooling is sad) and for healthcare (because public healthcare is sick) and now we must pay for this monument to incompetence called e-tolls. I think not PLUS Government doesn’t know why the economy is weak: Well it because WE ARE PAYING TWICE FOR ESSENTIAL SERVICES.

Whilst Mboweni seems to be Oka s a finance minister, he needs to understand the phrase “nothing for nothing / free” also applies to tax. The average personal tax payer sees very little or nothing back for the tax they pay so as per Mboweni’s reasoning we should not be paying any tax at all.

What is this incoherent idiot on about???
– Apart from trying to rob us more effectively.

The money disappears before it is spent on roads. What percentage of money collected actually gets spent roads? Sanral abuses their power to devise schemes to enrich individuals. Sanral is a monopoly and can do whatever they want. Literally changed the law on alternative routes when the N4 to Nelspruit was built. There’s no alternative route to Nelspruit except the N4. Competition competition should fine Sanral, municipalities and gov deptartments for abusing their monopolies and fixing prices to whatever they want. Sanral throws away billions on unreasonable loans and interest rates. The e-toll money is basically stolen, wasted, spent on unneeded employees, postage, tons of paper, expensive rent for empty e-toll shops in almost every mall in the country, lawyers, and over-seas companies collecting it and keeping it for themselves. Cost of collection is eats up all the money collected. Inefficient system, it does not work. Double taxation because those roads would have been built using tax, but now we paying for the roads out our pockets. ANC keeps us paying SARS and moves the services out the tax system to be paid directly by us. And we paying VAT on that “tax”, because there is VAT on e-tolls and those those roads should have been built using tax. We don’t pay VAT on our income tax returns. We don’t pay VAT on existing fuel levies. E-tolls would be fine if the money was actually spend on roads, but the money doesn’t make it to the roads.

The N4 is an unlawful toll road. The declarations were set aside by the S vs. Smit case. The only reason SANRAL can collect toll is because of a technicality involving traffic law. If some patriotic motorist were to refuse to pay and fight the charge in court, we could get those toll gates removed entirely.

“Mbalula says President Cyril Ramaphosa has established a task team (led by the minister of transport) that must report to him on the options on the table with regard to e-tolls”

I wonder if #PayBackTheMoney but the ANC,Zuptas and other beneficiaries of the scam is on the table.

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