The first week of October 2012 saw OUTA compile and file its final replying affidavits for the court review. OUTA’s access to the (confidential) ETC contact has certainly enabled it to assess the numbers and assumptions of their funding model. This enabled OUTA to commission the input of an expert Transport and Tolling Economist, in order to better defend our opinion that SANRALs numbers and their e-Tolling plan for GFIP is not viable and is a waste of tax payer’s money, something we aim to prove in the court review, starting 26 November 2012.
Despite the Constitutional Court ruling which ultimately questioned the challenge on the executive powers of the cabinet, the full review will show how flawed the e-toll decision was and that it has not taken with the best interest of the citizen in mind, which is ultimately the role of government when approving projects of this magnitude.
E-Tolling however, if allowed to go ahead, also gives SANRAL the opportunity to increase tariffs and drive up the revenue over the future decades to levels well above those indicated and thereby generate extremely high profits from the system, which questions the entire “user pays” principle. E-Tolls will become a case of the “user pays for what?” This is precisely the question related to all long distance tolled routes, where the initial infrastructure of many of these routes have been paid off, yet the toll fees do not reduce and the maintenance costs on these routes is a fraction of the revenues generated. The users and toll payers of these routes are obviously contribution toward other routes and activities.