Budget 2022: Government ‘undecided’ on scrapping of e-tolls in Gauteng

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has expressed its disappointment that the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana did not scrap e-tolls during his budget speech on Wednesday. 

In 2021, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula promised that an announcement on e-tolls would be made by the minister of finance during his budget speech.

DA: ‘E-TOLLS STILL A BURDEN TO GAUTENG RESIDENTS’

The DA said Mbalula needs to explain why this did not happen and needs to commit to the scrapping of e-tolls.

“He can no longer string residents along and keep Gauteng citizens for fools. E-tolls will now continue to be a burden to our residents who are already buckling under the pressure of the high costs of basic goods and services.

“Furthermore, many small businesses are unable to afford the e-tolling fee each time their vehicle passes through an e-Toll gantry while delivering goods. The time for e-tolls to be used as a tool to gain votes and to tug at the heart strings of our residents is over.”

The party said it has previously called on Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to lodge an intergovernmental dispute regarding e-Tolls in the province so that residents can be relieved of this unwanted burden.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY PAYING?

A report released by SANRAL in late 2021 confirmed that the revenue generated by the road payment system declined by more than 30%.

The figures, which were also analysed by the Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), showed that compliance levels in Gauteng had dropped even lower than previously estimated.

The unpopular gantries have been in operation for the past eight years, but they have been more trouble than they are worth. 

It was previously thought that only 20% to 25% of road users bothered to pay for e-tolls. OUTA now believes that figure has plummeted to 15%, after SANRAL reported losing more than R200 million on the plazas in 2020.

Gauteng’s Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo took many by surprise after he announced live on-air that e-tolls ‘would be scrapped’ in the near future. Fikile Mbalula then said the road payment system is set to stay. He then hinted that the system will be scrapped out during his tenure as Transport Minister.

ALSO READ: E-tolls u-turn: Fikile Mbalula preparing to make ‘unpopular decision’

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