Claims made by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) it has been ready to implement e-tolling for more than two years have been rejected by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA).
HumanIPO reported earlier today on the ZAR25 million (US$2.5 million) SANRAL must pay per month to Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) for various services.
OUTA referred to a roundtable meeting held yesterday in which SANRAL claimed to have been ready to implement e-tolling in Gauteng for more than two years.
“We completely reject this claim. If SANRAL were so efficient and their funding predicament was so serious, why are we still seeing a flurry of legislative amendments taking place over the past year?” asked Wayne Duvenage, chairperson of OUTA.
Duvenage added: “The regulatory environment forms part of the framework of readiness. Clearly they have failed themselves. We recall that SANRAL argued in the constitutional court in August 2012, they could and would launch e-tolls within two weeks of the interdict being set aside. Almost a year has passed, and they are still beating around the bush.”
E-toll payment enforcement is reportedly crucial to the success of SANRAL’s plans and OUTA believes the road agency has a “significant problem” with the enforcement.
Furthermore, OUTA said SANRAL is “disingenuous” regarding their claims they are the mere implementer of government policy because it “downplays the enormous role” the agency played by advising government on the e-tolling process and methodology.
OUTA accused SANRAL of operating “in a universe disconnected from reality” because they continuously dismiss those who oppose e-tolling, which includes civil entities, political parties, religious organisations and people across South African society.
“No matter how SANRAL wants to couch it, a collection cost of compliant users at 17 per cent is grossly out of line with international benchmarks, which are in single digit, including defaulter costs. What makes this worse is their omission of the cost impact of the non-compliant road user in their total cost of collection, wherein they assume these will be recovered by the higher rates applied to those who don’t pay. If they don’t pay, they don’t pay,” said OUTA in a statement.
Duvenage added: “Of one thing we are certain, SANRAL most certainly cannot sit back and continue to produce misleading statements, or hope the public will come around to accepting e-tolls.
“Hope doesn’t drive change, action does, and until this grossly inefficient plan that enriches overseas investors at the expense of Gauteng road users is scrapped, they have no hope of changing in the hearts and minds of the majority of South African citizens about it.”