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No plans to make motorists pay for Gautrain rail extensions, says CEO

Earlier this week, Gautrain Management Agency CEO William Dachs said that motorists did not pay their fair share of taxes and he warned that the failure of the e-tolls system had perpetuated the problem.

FILE: A Gautrain security official is seen standing at the door of the train at the Hatfield Station in Pretoria. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - There are growing concerns over plans in the pipeline to expand the Gautrain, which would likely lead to motorists having to fork out money through taxes to fund the multibillion-rand project.

Earlier this week, Gautrain Management Agency CEO William Dachs said that motorists did not pay their fair share of taxes and he warned that the failure of the e-tolls system had perpetuated the problem.

The Gautrain is considering various funding models, which could include general tax increases, fuel tax and fuel levies for the expansion of its network by 150 kilometres to reach Soweto, Lanseria and Mamelodi.

But Wayne Duvenage from the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse said that this was simply not an option.

“The motorists in this country are overtaxed. When you put the fuel levies, the vehicle licence fees which have gone up over the last number of years, when you look at the VAT that you pay on vehicles and import duties, the problem is that we don’t necessarily want to use road vehicles but we have no alternatives.”

Meanwhile, the Justice Project South Africa's Howard Demvovski said that the proposal was laughable.

“I think it’s time that the CEO of the Gautrain and everyone else involved realised that it is a great big elephant and either turn it into a profitable business that offers a proper service or shut the thing down.”

Dachs has denied that motorists will have to foot the bill for the expansion of the multi-billion rand project.

He said that the Gautrain was considering various funding models but making motorists pay was not one of them.

"I can understand why I was misunderstood. But we can’t just let car usage go uncontrolled, there have to be taxes in place. But there is no plan to make motorists pay for any rail extensions, Gautrain or otherwise."

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