Finance Minister Tito Mboweni slammed the decision by the South African National Roads Agency to suspend the pursuit of e-toll debt. Picture: GCIS
Pretoria - Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, on Thursday slammed the decision by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) to suspend the pursuit of e-toll debt, saying that the road agency's board must reverse this decision immediately.

Speaking during a media briefing introducing the new Commissioner of SA Revenue Services Edward Kieswetter, Mboweni said the user-pay principle is a culture that has to permeate through the South African society

"It is within that context that I am very not happy with the decision by the Sanral board not to pursue those who have been defaulting on the e-tolls," Mboweni said. 

"It's a very bad decision, they should never have taken that decision, it is not helpful in the bond market, it is undermining what we have said in the Budget that we support the user-must-pay principle, and they must reverse that decision immediately, or else this has implications for the bond market, the fiscus and their own credit rating.

"People must learn that you don't take careless decisions in the middle of a very difficult financial situation. So pay your taxes, render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar."

Sanral on Wednesday said it would stop pursuing historic debt and summonses applied for since 2015, after a request from President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the e-tolls payment impasse.

The decision was celebrated by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, which called it a strong signal that the end was near for the controversial e-tolls. The lobby group said it would await more clarity from Sanral and government.

Gauteng government, though Premier David Makhura, said the decision represented a decisive shift and opened the door for an amicable and lasting solution regarding the e-tolls debacle. 

African News Agency (ANA)