OUTA is startled at Minister Dipuo Peters comments as expressed in the media during her recent speech at the opening of road accident fund offices in Kimberley in the Northern Cape, wherein she comments ‘if we say we are not going to pay e-tolls it simply means we should not pay the insurance companies their money.’
“We’re not sure which insurance companies she is referring to or if this is merely a threat but if so, it would be an idle one. Contracts entered into by Government are done so on behalf of the people and in the event that authorities have made an unsound or poor judgment by selecting the wrong mechanism, they need to acknowledge their errors and then work with the stakeholders, particularly society, to find the most efficient way to reimburse the loans,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s Chairperson.
Society is very aware that all infrastructure is indeed financed by the citizens, however, the people require their Government to act responsibly when deciding how best to extricate these funds from it citizens and to conduct themselves in an inclusive and participatory manner as opposed to being extractive and dismissive of the public’s views.
Throughout the e-Toll saga, the behavior expressed by Government and its agency Sanral, has raised serious concerns about their ability to conduct the necessary research and evaluate the judgment of their advisors on projects of this nature. The simple question core to these decisions must be to check if they are being conducted in the best possible interests of the people the serve, a matter which is enshrined in our constitution. Clearly the e-toll decisions never took the people’s input or best interest into account.
“We are confident that the e-toll system is failing, as it will never achieve the compliance levels and revenues required to finance the debt,” says Duvenage. “The 46,000 tags issued to the taxi industry several months ago are still not fitted to taxis in and around Gauteng, which is another matter indicative of the systems unworkability. In addition, the dismal compliance levels at below 40%, appears to be declining, as many people who were previously tagged have indicated their decision to de-tag and halt their contributions to a seemingly defunct system.”