Johannesburg - The South African National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral) recent admission that it was open to alternative funding methods to fund the contentious e-toll project was on Monday has been lauded by the DA.
Last week, the entity admitted that it had all but lost the battle to collect revenue from the controversial Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and was open to the idea of a fuel levy to fund the project.
According to The Citizen, GFIP manager Alex van Niekerk said the situation was not in a favourable state and that Sanral needed clear direction in funding policies.
The admission was then lauded by the likes of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), which said the "admission that the fuel levy might be a better option than e-tolls is an indication that sanity is beginning to prevail".
The DA has since also responded to this admission, saying on Monday it welcomed the concession that the revenue battle was all but lost.
"Since the inception of the highly contentious e-toll system on the province’s roads, residents have refused to pay for this stealth tax which underwent virtually no consultation process and was foisted upon motorists in 2013.
"The DA has always advocated that alternative funding methods be explored to pay for the GFIP. The fuel levy is one of the options that can be explored. Especially since Gauteng generates the lion’s share of the fuel levy raised."
The party said using a fuel levy would not only be more cost effective, but would also ensure that funds collected are used for their intended purpose, the development of infrastructure – not the lining of off-shore accounts.
It also said that it would "continue to advocate for the implementation of a fuel levy on Gauteng’s roads instead of electronic tolling which has had a negative impact on the province’s economy".
The e-toll system has faced constant criticism since its inception in 2013, with numerous political parties and organisations calling for it to be scrapped.
The e-tolls issue is also among factors identified as having contributed to the ANC’s electoral misfortunes in the province. It lost control of Joburg and Tshwane to a DA-led coalition in last year’s municipal elections.