The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) welcomes Premier Makhura’s announcement of his plans to commission a panel to assess the impact and efficiency of e-tolling in Gauteng, as indicated on Friday in his State of the Province Address.
“It is however very important that this does not simply become another co-option tactic that degenerates into a meaningless talk shop. It must be an honest and frank engagement by the authorities to unpack the real issues on the matter,” says OUTA’s spokesperson, John Clarke. “We have seen this before with the GFIP Steering Committee in 2011 and the Inter Ministerial Committee in 2012, at which we clearly determined there was no meaningful desire to seriously seek more efficient alternatives to Sanral’s e-toll plan”.
OUTA believes that Premier Makhura, who is on record as denouncing the e-toll scheme in the past, is seriously concerned about the negative impact that e-tolling is having on his province. Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s Chairperson says that Makhura appears to have a clear understanding of the irrationality and high costs of the debacle and that it is unaffordable to thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of citizens in the region. Civil society must continue to keep the pressure on government so that a more ambitious challenge can be made by Premier Makhura. Any system of this nature which does not have the committed support of the people, will never achieve the high levels of compliance required for success. More than half the citizens are not paying and this spells disaster for any user pays scheme, no matter how Sanral try to couch their progress. The Premier was very eloquent in explaining the ten pillars for the transformation of Gauteng as a matter of meaningful participatory democracy, which means that citizens should provide active direction to government leaders. We encourage citizens to continue to show the Premier what this means by keeping up the pressure to scrap e-tolls.”
OUTA condemns Sanral’s continuous intimidation by their presence at the on and off-ramps to the Gauteng Freeways. There is no legal obligation to have an e-tag and furthermore, we believe that e-tolling has been introduced unlawfully and will challenge this when the time is opportune. “Since the launch seven months ago, everything we have predicted about the scheme has come to light, from the low levels of compliance, to maladministration, number plate cloning, incorrect billing, carrot and stick approach by Sanral etc etc”, says Duvenage who added “this has to be the biggest fiasco and tax revolt ever encountered in our new democracy and the blame lies squarely at the feet of Sanral”.