SANRAL introduces new punitive e-toll tariff
Department of Transport published the Gauteng e-toll tariffs in the Government Gazette (#35263) on Friday the 13th of April and have displayed tactics to try and force the public to register their vehicles with SANRAL, by introducing a new tariff which is almost 6 times higher than the tagged user.
To date, the upper limits were indicated at R0.58c per kilometre for non-tagged light vehicles and discounted rate of R0.30c for tagged users. SANRAL have now introduced a new “alternate user” category which has never been mentioned before, of R1.74c per km. This is a shocking new rate for those who do not register their vehicles on the SANRAL database, tag or no tag.
This brings a whole new dimension to the matter and begs the question, what is the difference between an e-tag and non e-tagged vehicle (ie Vehicle License Number – VLN) when registering with the SANRAL e-toll system? Clearly this new category rate of R1.74c/km for the road user who chooses not to register their vehicle with SANRAL will be seen as exorbitant and a ‘bully-boy’ tactic to force people to register. One wonders on what grounds are these gross variances are justified. No doubt this is a new issue that may have to be urgently brought before the National Consumer Commissioner and will probably have implications for the engagement process that took place with the Commission last week between the DA and SANRAL.
It is also important to note that the Gazette has made no mention of the tariff exemptions for minibus taxis and commuter busses. In the absence of any details at this late stage, it must be assumed that they are in fact not exempt. The absence of clarity on the criteria for exemptions has further implications for both vulnerable groups (e.g. pensioners, mobility impaired). In addition, the tourism industry which has numerous permitted vehicles and drivers similar to minibus taxi operators, have good reason to expect that they should also qualify for exemptions.
This once again highlights the lack of transparency and insincere approach by SANRAL which may further drive a wedge between the citizens of Gauteng and the authorities on the matter of e-tolls.