Contrary to recent statements by Mr Vusi Mona, the Head of Communications at SANRAL, that e-toll critics are being selective in their interpretation of the new e-toll dispensation, OUTA maintains there are in fact fundamental differences between the tariffs gazetted on Wednesday 17th June 2015, and the announcement by the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on 20th May.
OUTA laments the projection of the internal conflict within Government over e-tolls onto civil society, because it takes us further apart instead of finding a practical solution to the impasse.
In the Deputy President’s speech of 20th May 2015, Cyril Ramaphosa stated “There will be a monthly cap on the penalty for accounts in arrears. All users who do not pay tolls within the required 30 days will be obliged to pay double the toll tariff. To protect users from incurring high amounts of debt, this will be capped. In the case of light motor vehicles, for example, the monthly cap for accounts in arrears will be R450.”
However, in the new e-toll tariffs as per Gazette 38884, published on 17 June 2015, the tariffs applicable for non-registered users who do not pay within 30 days, is actually three times the 30c rate applicable, as reflected in Column 6 of Table 1.
Furthermore, this rate is not capped at R450 as indicated by the Deputy President. In Table 5 of the Gazette, the Department of Transport has only listed the cap of registered users and have failed to indicate the cap of the Alternate (non registered) users at R450.
These are the facts and there is no selective reading herein. Mr Mona says the new dispensation is being phased in over 18 months. What is really needed in the next 18 months is for Sanral and the Executive to recognize the well known rule of common sense; ‘When you’re in a hole, stop digging’. For guidance and a ‘ladder’ to assist them out of their hole, Sanral and the Department of Transport need to premise the solution on Section 195 of the constitution.
The discrepancy between the gazetted tariffs and the statements made by the Deputy President, plainly reflects fundamental differences which cannot be brushed aside, as Mr Mona is trying to do and treating the public for fools. This is a clear and material breach of the basic constitutional values and principles governing public administration.