E-toll discount 'a farce' - Outa
Johannesburg - As from 2 November, motorists who agree to pay their outstanding e-toll fees will receive a 60 percent discount.
This is the next step in the rollout of the new e-toll dispensation announced in May by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa in an effort to get motorists, who are generally boycotting e-tolls, to pay.
The South African National Roads Agency Limited said the 60 percent discount on historic debt would take effect dating back to December 2013.
Motorists will, furthermore, be given six months to settle their accounts.
The first stages of the new dispensation, which have already been implemented, include: the reduction to 30c per kilometre for light motor vehicles, a reduced cap of R255 for light vehicles, and the penalty of twice the amount of the toll tariff owing for late payments.
The next phases to be rolled out over the next few months include 30 free gantry passes a year for infrequent users, a monthly cap of R450 for accounts in arrears and linking e-toll arrears to not being able to renew a vehicle licence.
In October Sanral requested the parliamentary portfolio committee to sanction proposed regulations for the withholding of vehicle licences for those with outstanding e-toll bills.
‘DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING’
However, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance said on Sunday the 60 percent discount was “a farce and doesn’t change anything”.
Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said: “We always said that applying extortionist and punitive tariffs was never going to be an effective tactic for Sanral to apply in the first place. The majority of the motoring public have rejected the scheme, not because of the tariffs, but because the scheme is unjust and irrational.
“If Gauteng motorists were sold on the scheme in the first place, they would have gone out and fitted e-tags to enjoy the discounted rate from the start.”
He said the reduced monthly cap didn’t change the exorbitant costs of collection, which came in at more than R1 billion a year, and enriched foreign companies.
“We believe a few people may succumb to Sanral’s new carrot, but it will not push their current low 25 percent compliance levels to much more than 40 percent, which was where it stood in mid-2014. And, at those levels, the scheme remains a massive failure as a user-pays mechanism,” he said.
Outa, Duvenage said, had always maintained that the inefficient e-toll scheme was introduced unlawfully and that the public had every right not to pay tolls for the use of Gauteng’s freeways.
“The 60 percent discount of zero rand due remains zero, as far as we are concerned,” said Duvenage.
Regarding the threat to withhold vehicle licences, Outa has urged motorists not to cave in under these threats, saying it was “clearly part of Sanral’s coercive strategy to get motorists to start paying e-tolls or face the possibility of criminal prosecution for driving without a vehicle licence”.
“We believe there are serious consequences for the legitimacy of the state if these regulations go ahead. We believe Parliament should reject this proposal,” he said.
Outa has also launched its new E-toll Defensive Umbrella campaign, aimed at providing legal support for all its contributing members in the event that they are summonsed for non-payment of e-toll fees. Details on www.outa.co.za.