Outa: Fuel levies can fund highways

Outa believes fuel levies can maintain highways despite the view of some economists.

Outa still believes fuel levies can maintain highways despite the view of some economists. Picture: Alex Eliseev/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has described as ludicrous a claim by some economists that a fuel levy to maintain highways would not work.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced yesterday that the gantries will go live on 3 December.

The move has prompted fresh calls for civil disobedience, with people publicly stating that they won't support the multibillion rand system.

As the argument over government's implementation of e-tolls continues Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage believes a fuel levy would be the most equitable and efficient way of paying for the highways.

"It has 100 percent compliance whereas e-tolling will never have 100 percent compliance. It doesn't have it in any part of the world where it is applied. It is failing in Portugal right now."

But transport economist and consultant Andrew Marsay argues there are benefits to e-tolling.

"The real issue that people focus on is why not do it on the fuel tanks. But I have offered a couple of caveats to that point. How do you make sure that money from fuel tanks actually gets spent on the roads?"

Meanwhile, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has denied that South Africa's courts will be flooded with e-toll-related cases.

Sanral's Nazir Alli says he believes the majority of South Africans are law-abiding citizens.

He has clarified there will be no specialised courts for e-tolling or any Sanral officers with the powers to arrest motorists.

"Sanral does not employ peace officers, we do not employ traffic officers and we do not have the power of stopping and arresting or anything of that sort."

Peters maintains Sanral won't have any problems administering the system.

"We are expecting the majority of South Africans to cooperate."

But Outa believes it's only a matter of time until e-tolling collapses.

Outa abandoned its legal battle last month after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed its bid to stop e-tolling.

The Bloemfontein court ruled the application was too late.

But a new legal bid to stop e-tolling has been launched by the Democratic Alliance (DA).

It is still unclear when their application will be heard.

The opposition party plans to use a technicality relating to how the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill was handled in Parliament and whether there was enough consultation.

The DA believes it can prove the bill is unconstitutional.

President Jacob Zuma in September signed the bill into law, which effectively gave the green light for the controversial system to be implemented.