AA research suggests scrapping of e-tolls

By Doug Mattushek - 22 August 2019Views : 654

The Automobile Association of South Africa suggests that there is little more government can do to force motorists to pay e-tolls.

The AA submitted an open letter to transport minister Fikile Mbalula outlining their suggestions to fix the current impasse between Gauteng road users and the e-toll project.

The report revealed the compliance rate reached its peak at around 40% and has been declining ever since. Furthermore, SA National Roads Agency Limited's decision to cease pursuing historic e-toll debt earlier this year negatively affected this even further.

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"The findings of the research are clear and unambiguous: the current model for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) has failed, and will continue to fail if pursued," it read.

"This is not the view of the AA. This is the view of those who are being asked to pay for the e-tolls system.

"The research indicates that people will not pay under the current conditions, and that debt is not a factor in these decisions. The findings highlight explicitly that most users are not paying because of a principled position taken years ago and that no amount of cajoling or enticement will change their minds."

The AA suggested motorists pay for the GFIP through a fuel levy.

"Through the research we reviewed the road funding models of other countries, and our own previous comments on e-tolls," it continued.

"We have concluded, as we did when the GFIP funding model was first proposed, that the only fair, feasible, and effective method of collection remains linking it to the General Fuel Levy.

"Pursing any alternative, we believe, will prove fruitless and will only further harden the position of those who are not paying.

Ring-fencing of a specific amount linked to the GFL is, therefore, the only viable solution. And, contrary to certain claims, this is a workable solution, evidenced by the fact that the Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy, for instance, has been ring-fenced for many years.”

The AA's final suggestions could be considered extreme, but they believe it is the only way of "regaining the trust of Gauteng motorists, and South Africans in general, which has unfortunately been eroded over the course of the disastrous e-toll implementation."

1. The immediate suspension of e-tolling Gauteng;

2. The immediate re-imbursement of monies collected to those few who have paid to date;

3. The introduction of a levy linked to the General Fuel Levy which is ring-fenced for e-tolls (note: this can be done on a provincial basis), and, finally;

4. The immediate cessation of harassment by SANRAL of motorists who remain committed not to pay under the current model.