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'I am very unhappy' - Mboweni says Sanral must reverse e-toll debt decision

Mboweni said Sanral’s board should not have taken the decision as it has significant financial implications.

FILE: Finance Minister Tito Mboweni addressing the media prior to his annual Budget speech on 20 February 2018 in Cape Town. Picture: EWN

PRETORIA - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has hit out at Sanral for its decision not to pursue those defaulting on e-toll payments.

Mboweni said Sanral’s board should not have taken the decision as it has significant financial implications.

The minister said it undermines the message delivered in his Budget speech that government supports “a user must pay principle”.

Sanral announced on Wednesday that it suspended the process of pursuing historic e-toll debt, including summonses dating back to 2015.

Mboweni said he was not happy with Sanral’s decision not to pursue motorists who ignored their outstanding e-toll bills.

He said the board must reverse that decision immediately.

“I am very unhappy with the decision by Sanral board to not pursue those who have been defaulting on e-tolls. It’s a bad decision, that should have not been taken.”

Mboweni said that decision would have an impact on the country’s fiscus, the bond market and credit rating.

He said Sanral should not have taken what he describes as a "careless decision" in the middle of a difficult financial situation.

Meanwhile, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has reacted to Mboweni's demand.

Outa's Wayne Duvenage said: “I think the whole e-tolls decision is wrong; it has been wrong all along. It is an absolute mess. It has not been working and it’s not achieving the outcomes it seeks to achieve. It has failed as a user pay scheme. So, now, what we need is the plug to be pulled.”

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)