It's the death of e-tolls
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) welcomes the acknowledgment by Gauteng Premier David Makhura in his State of the Province Address today that e-tolls have failed and have added to the cost of living for many motorists and public transport users.
OUTA agrees with the Premier and his call for a new and more equitable funding model to expand Gauteng’s road network, and welcomes his promise to engage President Cyril Ramaphosa to find “a new and more equitable funding model”.
The compliance rate for e-tolls users, based on SANRAL’s own version in its 2017 Annual Report, is 29%, so it is clear that this system has failed. SANRAL could not in more than four years ensure a higher compliance rate. As Premier Makhura said: “The new dawn must also bring a solution to the protracted and unresolved problem of e-tolls”. OUTA will support all initiatives to get this scheme halted.
“OUTA is preparing a submission for the Minister of Transport and the President and will engage with the executive to show the negative impact e-tolls have had on the public and on the SANRAL budget and to propose alternative funding models,” says Rudie Heyneke, OUTA’s Portfolio Manager for Transport.
“The collection costs and litigation costs are too high when measured against the revenue generated by e-tolls.”
SANRAL will never be able to catch up on collecting outstanding e-toll fees and, with compliance of only 29%, SANRAL is losing millions of rand every day. Gauteng motorists showed the Government that they are not willing to fund a scheme that was doomed from the start and that was introduced without sufficient public participation.
OUTA welcomes the promise of justice and redress for the victims and families of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, and the promise of a panel of experts to review Gauteng’s work in caring for the most vulnerable people.
“It is commendable that the Premier has taken responsibility for the Life Esidimeni tragedy. Having said that, acknowledgement of the wrongdoing will never bring back those who have passed away, nor will it ever fill the void they left in the lives of their loved ones. No amount of monetary compensation will ever be enough. You cannot buy human lives,” says Dominique Msibi, OUTA’s Portfolio Manager for Special Projects.
OUTA is ready to work with Gauteng to oppose corruption.
“We welcome the promises to tackle corruption and to work with civil society on this, however, the proof of the pudding is in the eating: actions speak louder than words,” says Ben Theron, OUTA’s COO. “We look forward to the implementation of lifestyle audits.”
OUTA is concerned at the hint that Gauteng may need a larger Legislature, as taxpayers are already overburdened. “We’d like to see the province following the suggestion from the President that the size – and thus the cost – of Government should be reduced,” says Theron.
“It is quality not quantity that will make a difference,” says Theron.
OUTA is also concerned about the suggestion that only foreign-owned businesses need checking for regulation. “This is a dangerous suggestion in a province that has seen far too many xenophobic attacks, with foreign-owned businesses targeted by criminals who want an excuse for their looting,” says Theron.
“Regulation of businesses should apply to all. There’s no need to specify a particular group.”
OUTA welcomes the Premier’s undertaking for action on guaranteeing the province’s supply of water and energy.
“Gauteng should apply pressure on the Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane. She is the reason for the delays in the Cape Town bulk water augmentation projects and also the reason why we may receive water from the Lesotho Highland Water Projects’ second phase only in 2027, a project that should have provided us with water this year,” says Julius Kleynhans, OUTA’s Portfolio Manager for Water.
“The reality for Gauteng is that we won’t have enough water for future demand and we need to reduce our usage significantly right now. Municipalities must also ensure that waste water is treated sufficiently, leaks are reduced, that bills are paid and that innovative processes are put in place to capture and reuse water. The province has the responsibility to oversee the performance of local government and we hope to see the Premier’s intervention in Emfuleni Local Municipality soon and him holding those officials who fail to provide basic services to account.”