The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance is pleased at the overwhelming response by the public who made use of their portal to provide comment to the Department of Transport on the Gazette which sought changes to the regulations on e-tolls.
A volume of 18,732 submissions were made through OUTA’s ‘Gazette Comment’ portal in the 10 days, between 17th September and the cut off date of 27th September 2015. We sincerely trust the authorities will take note of these submissions, along with the many others they will have received from other organisations and citizens who did not make use of OUTA’s assistance.
Of concern to OUTA are the various proposed changes which make it extremely onerous for people with disabilities to obtain exemption from the payment of e-tolls, whilst public transport entities, including Minibus Taxis, will obtain exemption without the use of an e-tag – which essentially opens the system up for extensive abuse. Furthermore, SANRAL is seeking to circumvent their obligation to operate within the Consumer Protection Act, by not having to submit invoices to road users. Instead SANRAL is attempting to place the onus on the public to establish the extent of their e-toll bills. For many, especially those not connected to the internet, this is a practical impossibility.
“Quite frankly, at the end of the day, the e-toll policy has been one of this government’s biggest blunders to date, signifying the outcome of poor policy making in the absence of meaningful public consultation, sound research and practical thinking,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s Chairperson. “What makes this situation even more preposterous is that four years after SANRAL’s first announced launch date in 2011, and several Gazette announcements later, they still cannot to get the regulatory environment set up to suit the scheme. This signifies not only the irrationality of the uworkable scheme, but also highlights the extents that a desperate government will go to, in their attempt to ‘rule by modification of laws’, as opposed to practicing the true meaning of the Rule of Law.”
OUTA would like to thank the thousands of citizens that were active in providing input to this gazette and trusts that there will be a similar energy of active citizenry participating to Wednesday’s ‘Unite against Corruption March’.