A few months ago, we mentioned that the government decided to scrap E-Tolls completely due to their sheer ineffectiveness and dismal failure. Surprise! With only 29% of all motorists paying their accounts, and the R9.2 million debt increasing by R230 million every year, the announcement was widely welcomed.
But then, in a sudden turn around, it was decided that Sanral would have to pay off their R67 billion debt. So, what does this mean?
E-Toll Defaulters Will Be Targeted Individually
Sanral have reportedly issued a stern warning to all e-toll defaulters that should they not start paying up their account, summonses will be issued and they will all be dragged to court. So, for the other 76% of drivers who just simply don’t believe in the system, and who can blame them, court dates are apparently currently being set.
It has recently come to light that 24% of the over 15,000 summonses issued to e-toll defaulters in the last three years have been served.
Transport Minister Blade Nzimande, stated that only R10.231 million was collected through legal processes. The total cost of actually collecting that accumulated over R4 million in legal fees in the process. Now, these costs look to snowball with a significant increase of summonses being sent out. And the question is, just how many of these are going to actually result in the fees being paid? Our guess, not many!
If Not The Motorists, Let’s Make The Roads Pay
In just another infuriating comment to come from our beloved government, Nzimande commented on the lack of funding in the agency.
” I want to be honest with you‚ we understand the public sentiment… but at the same time we have got another problem that many people do not want to deal with. We owe an amount in today’s terms of R67bn. That’s the amount we owe on the building of these wonderful freeways. The issue is who is going to pay and how are we going to pay. “
That should have really been thought of before building gantries and charging already cash-strapped citizens a fortune to drive to work and back without checking with them first!
Now, the next hare-brained idea is to take the money put toward maintaining other roads around the country and put it toward these “wonderful freeways”. That just really means that precious taxes that could fix some roads that are in dire need of some attention will go toward this failure of a project!
A total amount of R1.6 billion has been transferred from the non-toll business to the toll road portfolio. This then means that funding of 13,000 km of roads has been removed, and put toward just 187 km of Gauteng’s e-toll roads. Makes sense.
Sanral chairperson, Roshan Morar laid blame on the non-compliance, and absolute disinterest of motorists.
” This transfer, made with the concurrence of the minister of transport, was to reduce losses incurred as a result of sustained non-payment of toll fees by users of the roads constructed under the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP). “
What are your thoughts on this reappropriation of road taxes?
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