Department of Transport continues to fail the public on e-tolls and other matters
The sudden cancellation of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) 13th May debate on the e-toll scheme in parliament has left Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) unsurprised and perplexed. “We are unsurprised because the indecisiveness is relentless and perplexed because we can’t understand why Parliament is even debating the future of the defunct scheme in the first place,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s CEO.
“The e-toll matter has certainly not received the attention it deserves given the ongoing operating costs to manage the defunct scheme. This is financed by a handful of businesses and citizens who make up the last approximately 15% of motorists who remain reluctantly compliant.”
Government’s indecisiveness in making the obvious decision between either pulling the plug on the failed scheme or summonsing millions of motorists to pay their bills, can only be attributed to poor leadership and the State’s inability to make a relatively simple decision.
Duvenage said that the fact that several deadlines set by the Department of Transport (DoT) have been missed, caused the public to lose trust in what ought to be an important arm of the State which needs the support of the public.
Besides the ongoing e-toll farce, one must ask why the Minister of Transport is not engaging more meaningfully with civil society when it comes to input that could make a meaningful impact on matters such as the looming failure of the AARTO system, the lack of transparency within SANRAL and the worsening crisis around the renewal of driver’s licences.
Duvenage says the current lack of service delivery by the Department of Transport is unacceptable. “OUTA has suggested that licences should be valid for ten years instead of five, something that will help alleviate problems and is an acceptable practice in many countries around the world. We had no feedback on this suggestion, but instead read in newspaper reports that Minister Mbalula’s department is considering a new licence card system to be introduced in the next year.”
South Africa’s administration needs a serious overhaul and modernisation in many parts of Government. The public engage with the State daily and have much to offer when it comes to improvements in processes whilst also enabling the elimination of corruption that pervades many departments.