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Sanral says e-tolls remain in place

Until users of Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project roads are otherwise directed.
Outa claims that Sanral’s financial statements show that it aimed to collect 29% of its total income from 1% of its tolled road network in Gauteng in the 2015-2019 period. Image: Moneyweb

The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has dismissed suggestions that the user-charge principle used to justify e-tolls will be undermined if motorists are forced to pay for the expansion of the Gautrain.

The possibility of motorists paying for the Gautrain expansion was confirmed by Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) CEO William Dachs, when he commented on engagements between National Treasury and the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) about funding the expansion.

Sanral general manager for communications Vusi Mona said it continues to affirm the view that e-tolls remain in place and, until otherwise directed, road users are expected to pay.

“Sanral remains firmly of the opinion that the user-pay principle is a worldwide accepted principle which Sanral supports,” he said.

The future of e-tolls

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will possibly make an announcement about the future of e-tolls in his medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) speech on Wednesday.

In his MTBPS speech in October 2019, Mboweni said that the government had decided to retain the user-pay principle and e-tolls on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), urging motorists to pay their e-tolls.

However, in November 2019 the government back-tracked on Mboweni’s comments.

Read: Government is currently deliberating the future of e-tolls

Mona declined to comment on the engagements between Treasury and the GMA, stressing that “Sanral is not in a position to comment on the Gautrain’s funding model”.

He also declined to comment on the possible implications to the e-toll system on the GFIP of any government deviation to the user-charge principle.

“Sanral cannot comment on speculations that are made by Outa [the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse],” Mona said.

Mona’s comments follow GMA CEO William Dachs confirming last month the GMA has engaged with Treasury about the other sources of funding for the Gautrain expansion project.

“We firmly believe the people in cars don’t pay their fair share in terms of the taxes that they pay and the failure of the e-tolls system has perpetuated that problem,” he said.

Dachs added the GMA’s engagement with Treasury on the funding of the expansion “looked at everything from general tax increases to fuel taxes to fuel levies to congestion charges” through to more traditional funding sources and charges for developers around Gautrain stations.

Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage stressed that the notion of having Gauteng road users taxed or tolled to finance the upgrade of the Gautrain is in direct contrast to the user-pays principle.

“I think government is notorious for speaking with a forked tongue when it comes to changing its tune to suit its conflicting agendas,” he said.

Duvenage claimed that Sanral’s own financial statements in the agency’s annual reports for 2015 until 2019 show that it aimed to collect 29% of its total income from 1% of its tolled road network based in Gauteng in this period.

He said obviously these were the revenues Sanral billed and expected to achieve had motorists complied, which unfortunately for Sanral was not the case.

“There is no fairness in the user-pays principle with those figures, whereby Gauteng motorists would have generated 29% of Sanral’s revenue from 1% of their road surface,” he said.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula confirmed in November 2019 that a cabinet decision on the controversial scheme would be taken in the next two weeks.

This followed President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier in 2019 appointing Mbalula to head a task team to report on the options available for the future of e-tolls by August 2019.

Public resistance

The appointment of this task team was prompted by staunch public resistance to e-tolls and the low e-tolls payment compliance rate, which is now below 19%.

A government announcement about the future of e-tolls was subsequently delayed at the end of 2019 until the first cabinet meeting of this year, but the government has continued to dither since then without publicly announcing any decision on the scheme.

However, Mbalula’s spokesperson Ayanda Allie Paine confirmed two weeks ago that the government is deliberating about the future of e-tolls on the GFIP “as we speak” but stressed there is no indication yet when cabinet will make an announcement.

In a presentation to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport earlier this month, Sanral revealed that the Auditor-General had drawn attention in an emphasis of matter to “material impairments – trade and other receivables” at the agency related to the recognition of expected credit losses (impairment) of R10.177 billion.

Of this impairment, R9.831 billion relates to the impairment of e-toll receivables.

Read:

Sanral said its funding was negatively impacted by the fact that the future of e-tolls is still not resolved, resulting in low payment compliance that negatively impacts on Sanral’s ability to finance its toll portfolio in the short term.

It said this short-term funding shortfall in the toll portfolio was addressed by transfers from the non-toll portfolio, which reduced its budget for new projects.

Sanral said this reduction in its budget for new projects amounted to R5.75 billion in 2018/19 and R2.5 billion in 2019/20 while R2.53 billion had been transferred so far in 2020/21.

Sanral’s non-toll allocation has also been reduced by R1.1 billion because of the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown regulations on the availability of future funding.

It reported a profit of R1.2 billion for its 2019/2020 financial year compared with the R2.4 billion profit reported in its previous financial year.

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Just another ANC attempt to flog another ANC dead horse. Right from the outset the e- toll scheme was designed to feather the nest of some ANC worthies through the Swedish arm of an Austrian company. Never mind the already overstretched motorist. High time for the tax payers to stop playing willing host to the ANC parasites.

#VoetsekANC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wonder if the ‘User Pay’ principle will be extended to water, electricity, housing, schooling etc.?

The the “user-pay principle” will be communicated, encouraged, put forward, talked about, advertised, committed to, put on record, made part of the policy, flouted, promised but evidence clearly shows it is most definitely not being implemented.

Brilliant comment – Spot on!

Exactly; for etolls all the “users” don’t pay; just some. Taxis, buses etc are exempt. Lies, lies and lies is all Mona, the ANC and SANRAL know.

People say that #No_Toll_GP and #VoetsekANC remain in place:

– #No_Toll_GP
– #VoetsekANC

“We firmly believe the people in cars don’t pay their fair share in terms of the taxes”

Let’s see how true this is when they stop paying taxes altogether.

I’ve said before, I don’t mind the user-pays principle, but then it must be absolute and income tax must go away. You can’t have it both ways. These clown have misunderstood the purpose of taxes.

I pay my taxes for infrastructure in general, vehicle licenses specifically for roads and a fuel levy supposedly for roads. How is that not enough.
I still want know when the law was changed that allowed Sanral to take an existing 40 year old road that the general public has paid for already and then sell it back to us via a toll?
It’s not like the work that was done was significant, one extra lane was totally inadequate.

Exactly. That 40-year old road should have been left unchanged as the “alternative route”. The toll road should have been built alongside it. Then I would have supported it. That’s how toll roads work generally in the world. As it stands now the toll road is of no benefit to anyone except the corrupt cadres who shared the loot – and probably still receive their monthly annuity payments from the fraudulent consortium that put this scheme together. BTW, does anybody reach their destination any earlier than during pre-eToll days? Anyone?

AS I HAVE SAID MANY TIMES—-WHEN THE GOVERNMENT WANTS YOUR MONEY THEY WILL GET IT!!! This is Socialism at its best. Take from those who have (pilfer a bunch) and give it to the poor, all the while making more citizens poor and reliant on an ineffectual government. Junk, Junkier, Junkiest

“Sanral says e-tolls remain in place”.
Surely that means they are happy with the 19% they are collecting?

Ergo: 19% collections will remain in place.

User pays for electricity?
User pays for water?
User pays for UIF?
User pays for Covid-19 payouts to employed, dead and underage ANC connections?

Are e-toll collections set aside for transport improvements? Nothing more than an ANC scam for self-enrichment. Will we see an SIU investigation into abuse of e-tolls collections and abuse?

WE pay more than enough road tax every time we put fuel in, the fact that this revenue may not find it’s way to where it is intended is hardly the road user’s fault.

SAA is not user-pay. So the user-pay principle is just political expediency. Furthermore, Sanral have never discussed what user-pay really means, having originally conceived the GFIP tolls as a means of partly funding the Wild Coast toll road.

Gautrain is already heavily subsidised by the taxpayer. GMA now wants more taxes from the travelling public. What all of these government agencies have is a strong sense of entitlement to taxpayers’ money. Their concept of the taxpayer is a person with many different pockets, all indpendently filled with money. It is just a matter of creating a revenue stream from a different money pocket and that emptying that pocket has no overall impact on the taxpayer.

How can it be called a FREEWAY project if one has to pay for it ??
Very Un African terminology !!

The ANC concept of UBUNTU.
You pay, we take.

So this scam continues? The SIU must investigate this scam and find out which politicians received bribes and inducements.

The AVERAGE ANC voter …. cannot pay for anything in this country.
Soweto has huge Electricity Debt!

The government (SARS) is afraid to use the term “tax revolt”; because it will legitimise non-payment.

We’ve not paying SABC TV licenses, Dog license, Bicycle Licenses, e-Tolls

Either because of in efficiencies in the system, collection costs too expensive, my neighborhood is not paying etc.

Wonder what will happen IF Sanral decides to fit (physical) swiveling barriers to their electronic gantries (along with cashier booths) in an overnight ‘blitz construction’ project?

One thing is for sure….

….there WILL BE countless long black EMERGENCY BRAKE MARKS on the highway the next few days until motorists gets familiarized!!

(…and after a week, enough plastic bumpers & associated debris will be collected on the side of road, for a new recycling project)

Votela out the ANC, votela out e-Tolls.

Watching Tito on TV as he delivers his medium term we need billions and billions speech just makes me sick. The so called ‘user pay principal’ is a crock of gupta. It demonstrates why year after year the ANC FAILS to deliver. It makes clear the lack of imagination and the desire to solve for a desirable outcome – this applies to everything. With all of these laws they’ve introduced, how the HELL did so much money get looted over the last few months ?? Oh joy he just reached the part about turning around SAA – a business that needs to be rescued during a time when it can’t actually…..fly….. I give up.

Fewer than 19% of Gauteng motorists are paying etolls. The reason? It was foisted on Gauteng under the guise of the Soccer World Cup – a deal done with overseas companies since proven to be corrupt. The ANC taught SA well about not paying for service delivery. Now these monstrosities on our highways are coming back to bite them – a testament to an epic fail by a useless, corrupt government.

Like you have statues of heroes. eToll gantries, in my eyes, are symbols of corruption in government.

End of comments.

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