SANRAL documents prove e-tolling will fail – DA

SANRAL documents prove e-tolling will fail – DA

Mmusi Maimane, DA premier candidate for Gauteng. CC image courtesy of the Democratic Alliance on Flickr.

Documents owned by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) prove e-tolling will not work in Gauteng, according to Mmusi Maimane, Gauteng leader for the Democratic Alliance (DA), who has also consulted with business owners regarding the effects e-tolling will have.

Maimane said SANRAL was aware of the negative impact e-tolling would have before it decided to push on with the project.

“I can reveal today that SANRAL knew from as early as 2009 that they are facing widespread opposition against e-tolling… This is according to documents received recently by the DA following a PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) application by DA shadow minister of transport,  Ian Ollis,” said Maimane.

The documents reportedly reveal SANRAL had posed a question to the public over the acceptance of e-tolling.

Maimane quoted the question as saying: “The envisaged tolls for Gauteng Freeways will be automated, there will be no toll stations. Payment will be collected automatically. If there were two extra lanes on the freeways you normally travel on, saving you time would you be prepared to pay a toll?”

Maimane said SANRAL’s documentation dated April 2009 indicate 69 per cent were prepared to pay a toll fee and 39 per cent were not. “However, in an addendum, as part of the contract information, in June 2009, the results are amended indicating that 48 per cent would not be willing to pay for e-tolls.”

According to Maimane both SANRAL and Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) agreed it is critical for high levels of public compliance if the e-tolling project is to go ahead.

In ETC’s contract submission, it stated opposition expressed within the market research presents a large marketing and communications challenge in shifting the behaviour and attitudes of a significantly large group into compliance, at very least, should acceptance not be achieved.

“Should such a sizable group actively resist compliance, law enforcement will be seriously hampered and could become virtually impossible to implement. Sizable active resistance could jeopardise the project as a whole,” Maimane quoted ETC as saying.

“Despite even their own research to the contrary, SANRAL, backed by the Department of Transport, continues to force this system on the people of Gauteng,” said Maimane.

Maimane also spoke with two small business owners, one whom owns a grocery trading store and the other a butchery in Vusimusi, Thembisa.

Both business owners reportedly rely on deliveries, which make their way to the stores via the R21, one of the routes on which SANRAL plans to implement e-tolling. According to Maimane, both stores will have to raise the price of their goods because e-tolling will result in a higher cost of delivery.

Maimane said this will in turn affect the surrounding community, which is already impoverished and struggling with high unemployment levels. He said this is the reason the two business owners and the community of Vusimusi at large do not support the e-tolling of Gauteng’s freeways.

“This is the story of many people across Gauteng. The people do not want e-tolls because it will make them poorer and increase poverty in communities across the province,” said Maimane.

Posted in: Policy

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