File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu / Independent Media.
JOHANNESBURG - Outa has hit out at finance minister Tito Mboweni, after he announced that those using roads in Gauteng should pay for using them in the form of paying their e-toll bills. 

Outa said in a statement, "Outa is bemused by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s determination to cling to the myth that the e-toll scheme is an efficient user-pays financial solution to settle the freeway upgrade bonds." 

“The gantries might be here to stay but the e-toll collections are not,” says Wayne Duvenage, Outa's CEO. 

Mboweni said, "Cabinet has considered several options to resolve the impasse over the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. Government has decided to retain the user pay principle. While there will be a further dispensation and value‐added services, compliance will also be strengthened.  Not paying your tolls has already led to our roads deteriorating. We have been unable to maintain the network. I urge the nation to please pay your bills. We need to build a culture of payment, as government services can only be sustainable if all of us that can pay for services, do so."

“And public resistance will not abate.  The reality is that compliance is at an all-time low of 20%. It will be interesting to see how Government proposes to address this, as they have failed to do so for the past six years.  Why is it so important for them to cling to a system that is the most expensive scheme in the world, which reeks of corruption from the road upgrade to the ETC contract, whose profits enrich a foreign company?” Duvenage said. 

"We believe Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is due to make a major announcement on e-tolls on Thursday. If recent comments by the various ministers are anything to go by, we are not expecting him to cancel the scheme, despite the fact that in virtually all Government's engagements with civil society and business organisations they were called on to scrap it," says Duvenage.

Outa said that they will not give in on the e-toll issue.

“The test case that has been developed over the past two years has been abandoned or placed on hold for the past eight months by SANRAL,” says Duvenage.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE