Another delay in the end of e-tolls is disappointing, yet not surprising
OUTA is not surprised at another delay in scrapping the Gauteng e-toll scheme. Over the past few years, the authorities have indicated several dates and deadlines for the defunct scheme to be scrapped and missed them all.
Following Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana’s announcement on 26 October 2022 of a new financing mechanism for the Gauteng freeway upgrade debt to replace the failed e-toll scheme, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi indicated that the e-tolls would be scrapped as soon as Gauteng reached an agreement with National Treasury. “There is a process that needs to be followed by government so the technical team led by our director-general will assist us. As indicated by National Treasury, we have until December 31 to conclude that task,” said Premier Lesufi in November.
On 31 December, the Gauteng Premier’s Office released a statement saying that “due to the need to finalise key components of the MOU between the National Government and the Provincial Government, the matter will be finalised in the new year (2023)”. This means that the planned deactivation of the scheme by 31 December did not take place.
Scrapping the scheme requires formally declaring that the Gauteng freeway network roads are no longer toll roads through a gazetted notice to be issued by the Department of Transport. Premier Lesufi says the switch-off will take place 14 days after the release of the gazette.
This essentially means that until the MOU between province and national government has been concluded the gazette will not be published and Sanral will continue to charge e-tolls.
“We maintain that the very small percentage of road users who are still paying for e-tolls are wasting their money, as the likelihood of getting a refund is slim to zero. We have also pointed out that those who have refused to pay for this irrational and expensive scheme will not be subjected to all the negative consequences that Sanral had once threatened to apply, therefore, while government continues to dilly-dally over the scheme’s final billing date, we suggest that the few who continue to contribute towards this defunct scheme should stop doing so now,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s CEO.
A soundclip with comment by OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage is here.
More on OUTA’s campaign against e-tolls is here.
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