Transport Minister issues Statement on E-Tolls

The DA’s attack on e-tolls is just electioneering - and also grossly misleading.

The prime example of this is the claim of an appeal to the courts when both the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court have already ruled in favour of e-tolls.

It is just simple fact that world-class road infrastructure is essential to the implementation of the National Development Plan and key government programmes such as Operation Phakisa.

A vital part of this is the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project which has boosted the local and thus the national economy and improved the lives of all road users in the region.

The only way to fund it, is through the user-pay principle that is, e-tolls.

This is a globally accepted, preferred method to pay for improved road and other strategic infrastructure. Tolling has been national policy since 1996 and as such cannot be changed as the result of a municipal election, as the DA seems to claim.

It is used as a means to mobilise funds from the private sector to deliver road infrastructure much quicker than would be the case if traditional tax-based funding was exclusively relied upon. It is carefully and selectively applied in our country. Furthermore, due to its indiscriminate nature, a fuel levy can be an anti-poor form of tax.

In a country like ours where the majority live far from their places of work, this would definitely impact the working class more as it would be impossible to exclude public transport – their preferred mode of transport.

Currently, registered public transport is exempted, thus cushioning the poor and working class.

As government we have listened to citizens’ concerns. The new e-toll dispensation was concluded after comprehensive consultation through the advisory panel that met with communities, stakeholders, interest groups and experts, and only after it was attended to at the highest level of government through the intergovernmental committee led by the Deputy President.

As part of our broader consultation, it was recommended that elements of the system should be reviewed to address the negative impacts.

The panel further recommended a hybrid funding model which includes the e-toll system with reduced tariffs and contributions by national and provincial government.

Also, the IPSOS survey quoted by the advisory panel did not indicate that the system is unpopular. It shows that 34% of people agree the tariffs are reasonable, 27% are neutral and 38% say the tariffs are unreasonable.

The truth is that out of our 750 000 km network and the 21 403 km looked after by SANRAL, only 3 120 km are tolled and of that only 201 km constitute the GFIP toll roads.

Whether looked at from the perspective of the country’s entire road network of 750 000 or from the network SANRAL looks after, tolling is used limitedly and the bias remains toward non-toll roads.

Department of Transport
159 Struben Street

Inquiries: Ishmael Mnisi 072 566 0827

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