'Etolls were doomed from the start'

The review panel on Gauteng’s tolling system heard submissions from Outa on Tuesday.

An e-toll gantry on the N1 in Johannesburg. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has made submissions to the panel sitting in Midrand, which is assessing the socio-economic impact of e-tolling.

Outa says the public were not consulted before government and the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) went ahead with the implementation.

The alliance's Wayne Duvenage says the gantries can still be used for road safety measures and security surveillance, but the current user pay method has failed.

"In this country our socio-economic issues cannot afford this. We cannot go down this road."

Meanwhile, the QuadPara Association of South Africa has also made submissions, proposing that people with disabilities and those transporting them must also be exempt.

The group's Ari Seirlis says the impact on people with disabilities was never taken into account.

"The most vulnerable and disadvantaged have now ironically been further paralysed."

Eleven groups have now submitted arguments to the panel, proposing that e-tolls be replaced with a fuel levy.


At the same time, Outa says the multi-billion rand e-toll project was in trouble before it even started, due to a lack of research, public consultation and refusal to look for alternative methods.

So far, only one group, Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), has been opposed to a fuel levy to pay as an alternative pay system.

Outa says for the e-tolling system to work a minimum of 80 percent compliance is needed for the project to succeed in the long term.

Duvenage says, "There might just be one day in the future when we have got the public on board, we might all feel proud one day to put an e-tag on our cars."

Meanwhile, a woman representing the Dutch Reformed Church has told the panel that they acknowledge that public has to pay for the upgraded roads but believes there are alternative ways.

"I think it might be a very difficult thing for government to go back and say 'we've made a mistake."

The panel will today listen to submissions made by school governing bodies.