Widespread unhappiness over new e-tolls model

A new cap & revised tariffs for e-tolling will come into effect within the next three months.

FILE: A motorist expresses his views regarding the e-toll system. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There's widespread unhappiness among motorists and anti-e-tolling groups following an announcement that the Gauteng tolling system will not be scrapped, but that the tariffs will be reduced to almost half the original rate.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced motorists using light vehicles, with or without e-tags, will now pay 30 cents a kilometre and the monthly cap has been reduced to R225 per month instead of the R450 monthly cap.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)'s Dumisani Dakile said the federation was taken aback by the announcement, as it expected government to listen to the desperate plight of motorists who simply cannot afford to pay.

"This debt is not only the debt that will be paid by us. We'll even go to the grave while we're paying for his debt."

Justice Project South Africa (JPSA)'s Howard Dembovsky said the decreased tariffs are still too expensive.

"They're going to make it your problem to go in and find out how much you owe."

Economist Chris Hart said the system is not up to speed to deal with administration problems and other issues.

"The proportion that the system is going to be taking on the tolls makes it look even more stupid."

Cosatu will be meeting with members on Monday, to decide how they will step up their fight against the system.

Dakile said the trade union federation is not happy that the system was not scrapped.

"We believe we must unmask all those people that are beneficiaries in relation to this particular project, so that we'll be able to know exactly where our fight must be directed to."

Government on Wednesday said e-toll debts need to be paid before new vehicle licence disks are issued, but have also guaranteed a 60 percent discount.

Hart said the Johannesburg Metro Police's involvement, to make sure e-tolls are paid, could get messy.

"We're going to have the motoring public being prowled on by the Metro Department for outstanding licences. It's really going to be an interesting exercise."

At the same time, Dembovsky has warned the Transport Department that if it's going to withhold vehicle licences from motorists who are not paying their e-toll bills, there will be a bigger problem with non-compliance.

"We're going to have a whole lot of unlicensed vehicles on our roads, but before that can happen all of what's been said has to be legislated. And before that can happen, it all has to be put out for public comment."

To read the full statement by Ramaphosa on the dispensation model for e-tolls, click here.

To view EWN's cartoon on e-tolls, click here.