E-tolls "limps on" towards inevitable future
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) finds the recent claims by Minister Dipuo Peters that e-tolls are here to stay, rather amusing.
“We find it rather absurd that despite nearly three years of the scheme’s existence, with a mounting debt now around R8 billion and less than 25% average public compliance, the minister believes that because the purple lights are on, the scheme somehow has a meaningful life or role to play in servicing the insurmountable e-toll debt,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA's chairman.
The success of e-tolling schemes around the world rely on impeccable administration management and accurate vehicle registration systems, combined with a transparent engaging authority which manages an efficient toll collection system at low cost to society. These systems must also have the ability to retain and provide each and every element of factual proof of gantry movements, along with highly efficient dispute resolution mechanisms and processes in place.
Judging by all the complaints and examples provided to OUTA from the public, SANRAL’s e-toll scheme is far removed from ticking the boxes for any semblance of efficiency, acute information or success. All indications point to SANRAL’s self opinionated success for the system as being a pie in the sky, thrust down the throats of an unsuspecting and unwilling public. The continued failure over a protracted period has resulted from SANRAL’s poor planning and blinkered decisions which grossly overlooked the context of the environment and public support which they required for success.
Throwing offers of discounts and extended payment plans have largely gone unheeded by the disinterested Gauteng motorists and still the reality check of the defunct scheme appears not to have sunk in, as SANRAL continues to issue summons after summons to e-toll defaulters.
OUTA’s legal team continues to submit defence notice after notice and prepares to get its legal challenge underway. This time, SANRAL will not be able to run and hide behind technical defences, and will have no way of avoiding OUTA’s formidable challenge to the lawfulness of the scheme. Regrettably, once again, the tax payer can rest assure, that a large amount of state money will be diverted from more pressing needs, to help SANRAL try and justify the revival of a failed scheme, for many months to come.