New e-toll tariffs as bad as the old
Johannesburg - Simply painting a new coat over the same rusty broken vehicle and trying to sell it as a new car. That’s how the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance has described the new gazetted e-toll dispensation regulations.
In May deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa announced a raft of new e-toll dispensations, including that e-toll fees would be capped at 30c a kilometre and, controversially, that payment would be linked to vehicle licence renewals.
But Outa says with the new tariff regulations published in the Government Gazette, that the South African National Roads Agency Limited is “taking the public for fools”.
“Contrary to the government’s claims of a 50 percent reduction in tariffs, the e-tag tariff remains unchanged at 30c a kilometre. Furthermore, just as it was in the past, the ability to enjoy the 30c e-tag rate, now with a 30-day grace period, comes with conditions that require the registration of a vehicle and or e-tag details with the e-toll system.”
Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said: “It remains an inefficient process and the effective rate remains unchanged at 30c a kilometre. Furthermore, the reduced cap of 50 percent is not all it is made out to be. This reduction only applies to fewer than seven percent of freeway users.”
The regulations state that users who choose to remain unregistered with the e-toll scheme must still pay their bills within seven days to qualify for the 30c tariff, “which is practically impossible given the inefficiency of our postal service”.
“This still places the onus on the road users to go hunting for their e-toll account on line or at e-toll customer centres”.
‘PUBLIC HAS BEEN MISLED - AGAIN’
The Justice Project SA is also critical. “Sadly, we’re not in the least bit surprised by the fact that the PR exercise announcing the so-called ‘new e-tolls dispensation’ and what has been published in the Government Gazette notices in question, particularly the tariff gazette, while sort of resembling one another, don’t actually match.”
Road users have “once again” been misled over the tariff they will be expected to pay, it states.
“The fact is that those who are not registered or choose not to register with Sanral and waive the protections afforded to them by the Consumer Protection Act will be expected to pay almost double the tariff if they don’t pay within seven days.
“And three times that tariff if they don’t pay within 30 days from invoice.”
Duvenage maintains Outa will challenge when the government attempts to amend the regulations linking unpaid e-toll bills to the vehicle licence discs.
“This is when ours, and other civil action institutions, political parties and others, will challenge the matter.”