Johannesburg: As if South African motorists were not under extreme pressure with record fuel prices that continue to rise at unprecedented rates, there is now word of a possible “traffic management levy” coming into play.
Although this has yet to be officially announced or approved, it has been mooted as a potential funding strategy in the Department of Transport’s latest Transport Policy White Paper.
“Additional and innovative funding strategies for traffic management functions will be investigated and introduced,” the DoT said. “This will include the allocation of a percentage of the roads budget for traffic control purposes. The introduction of a traffic management levy to vehicle licence fees and fuel sales will be investigated.”
However, there could be at least one positive development, which might see traffic fines being allocated to traffic management rather than simply falling into the general coffers.
“The desirability of apportioning traffic fines and bails to road traffic management funds instead of fines accruing to individual authorities and general state or provincial revenue funds will be explored. For this purpose, dedicated national and provincial road traffic management funds will be considered,” the DoT said.
The proposed “driving tax” is not going to go down well with overstretched motorists. They’re already overtaxed with R6.11 from every litre of fuel going to the General Fuel Levy and Road Accident Fund.
South Africans have reacted with outrage on social media.
“It's a BIG no from #OUTA, SA is overtaxed as is! These additional taxes are usually lost through wasteful expenditure and lack of objectives. RTMC already collects ‘driving’ tax,” the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) said on Twitter.
The DoT justifies the new proposed tax by pointing out a severe shortage of funds for implementing a new approach to road traffic and safety management systems.
“After a critical review of the situation and the manner in which road traffic safety is currently managed, it is evident that a stronger approach will be needed to effect a more drastic improvement in road user discipline and reduce collisions,” the department said.
It is widely believed that June will see record fuel price increases from Wednesday June 1, but despite the approaching deadline the Department of Energy had, at the time of writing on Tuesday morning, yet to release a statement on the official fuel price for June.