E-tolls: Why the numbers don't add up?

An explanation of why the numbers (and government’s maths) don’t add up.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Last week, whilst comparing the new e-toll government gazette with the old one, I happened to discover a maths quirk that neither the Department of Transport, nor the South African Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) had detected.

The registered e-tag user used to benefit from an e-tag discount, time-of-day discount for off peak toll passes and the maximum monthly cap.

The e-tag discount was 48%.

Sanral has done away with the 48% e-tag discount.

Now everyone gets charged with the new standard tariff which is equal to the old standard tariff less 48%.

The problem with this for complaint road users is that the time-of-day discount is applied to a lowered standard tariff.

For example: 20% of R10 is R2.00, 20% of R5.20 is R1.10.


To explain the maths, I'll use a value of R10, which is not the value of an actual tariff but is a chosen value to demonstrate the effect.

Maths is maths so it really doesn't matter.

Standard tariff: R10.00

Less - e-tag discount: R4.80

Sub-total: R5.20

Less 20% time-of-day discount: R2.00 (20% of the standard tariff)

Tariff charged: R3.20


Standard tariff: R5.20 (the new standard tariff is the tariff that was previously charged to e-tag users)

Less 20% time-of-day discount: R1.04

Tariff charged: R4.16

Yip, Sanral is rewarding registered users with higher tariffs.

Sanral was unaware that the new pricing structure was a kick in the face to their loyal compliant road users.

This blunder was not detected by the department nor Sanral.

Trucks benefit from time-of-day discounts for 131.5 hours out of the 168 hours each week.

They're now going to be charged up to 67% higher than what they were charged before the new dispensation came into place on 2 July.

Deputy President Ramaphosa would be livid if he knew that what he presented is not true for those motorists and truck owners that are compliant users.