File picture: Steve Lawrence
File picture: Steve Lawrence

Cosatu report says e-toll debts must fall

By Luyolo Mkentane and Noni Mokati Time of article published May 28, 2017

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Johannesburg - Cosatu has called on debt owed by motorists on e-tolls to be written off.

“Public roads should be funded from the fiscus not through underhand methods such as e-tolling. E-toll debt should be written off,” it said in a secretariat report.

“After all, we pay taxes precisely so that government can build and maintain roads, hospitals, schools, etc. If additional revenues have to be raised by the government, then this must be done through a progressive tax system where the more you earn the more you pay, rather than tolls, which take no account of the ability of the drivers’ to pay,” the report states.

Delivering his state of the province address in Randfontein in February, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, said the contentious e-tolls project was a mistake which his administration had failed to resolve and that only the national government could break the impasse.

The ANC has also admitted that it lost votes in Gauteng because of e-tolls - an issue which Cosatu has marched against, calling on the ANC-led government to scrap them.

The SA National Roads Agency has faced difficulty collecting e-toll debts due to public disobedience.

Wayne Duvenage, chairman of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) previously known as the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, said nearly four years later no one has been convicted for failing to pay e-tolls and that the scheme has less than 20% compliance. This showed that e-tolls had failed completely.

“The City of Cape Town was able to stop the e-tolling situation in the Western Cape. The Gauteng government has not tried hard enough. Makhura conducted his panel and he got enough to say that the scheme was wrong. What we are saying is that they need to rethink their strategy. He (Makhura) has got to have enough appetite to challenge his bosses.”

The Sunday Independent

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