In response to the Gauteng provincial government’s decision to allocate R123 million in its 2015 budget towards SANRAL for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), OUTA fears that this has serious consequences to Gauteng taxpayers and this action is a waste of money for the province.
“As valuable as the R123 Million would have been for other critical priorities in the province, it’s is a drop in the bucket for the financial black hole that SANRAL’s e-toll system has become,” said Wayne Duvenage, Chairman of OUTA. “The monthly payments required by the e-toll scheme to meet its required target is over R260 million. Gauteng’s contribution doesn’t even settle half of one month’s payment requirements of the ill-fated scheme, which in effect means that none of this regional allocation will go to refunding the bond for the tarmac. Who knows where it is going or being allocated to? Gauteng taxpayer’s money will merely be wasted on SANRAL’s e-toll extravagance once again.”
Financing SANRAL’s e-toll system robs Gauteng taxpayers of investments in more viable projects in the province, and could even be in direct contravention with the SANRAL act, which clearly states that there could be no-cross subsidisation between tolled and non-tolled funding and operations.
“Taking Gauteng Taxpayer’s money and pushing it into funding of a national e-toll project would appear to be a gross violation of the SANRAL act, and is another serious blow to the residents of Gauteng” says Duvenage.
OUTA supports the Gauteng provincial government’s willingness to invest in Gauteng’s road infrastructure, but advocates that the full amount rather be allocated towards road maintenance on the rest of Gauteng’s critically neglected roads, and not to prop up SANRAL’s incurable and exorbitant e-toll system. OUTA remains firm that urban freeway upgrades such as the GFIP, should be funded through fuel levy allocations from Treasury.
“When compared to the massive costs of the e-toll system, the R123 million in taxpayer’s money paid by the Gauteng Provincial government to SANRAL amounts to nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking titanic. It illustrates the enormous burden SANRAL has placed on Gauteng motorists, which the vast majority (now at close to 80%) have continued to reject by refusing to pay” says Duvenage.
The graph below illustrates SANRAL’s actual collections (in orange) when compared to the amounts motorists have refused to pay (in Red) from the start of the system until September 2015.