Persisting with e-tolls is 'the wrong course of action', warns AA
The Automobile Association (AA) is disheartened that finance minister Tito Mboweni announced in his mid-term budget in parliament on Wednesday that e-tolls are “here to stay”.
The minister mentioned that the government considered several options but decided to retain the user-pays principle.
“We find it hard to believe that based on submissions government received, anyone apart from Sanral supported the idea of retaining the current system. We have data that indicates users will continue not to pay - and that the system is doomed to failure should it be kept in its current format,” said the AA.
The association said continuing with a "business as usual" approach is counter-productive, particularly when "business as usual" is not only not working, but is a dismal failure.
“Compliance rates are lower than 30%, well below any accepted threshold for success. When we met the minister of transport in August, we also noted that any amount of cajoling or threats of legal action would not convince non-payers to change their minds. Users have simply had enough - and they are hard pressed to make ends meet as it is.
"Retaining the current system is, in our view, the wrong course of action."
More clarity on the future of e-tolls is expected to be provided at the post-cabinet press briefing on Thursday October 31 by minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu.
“Gauteng motorists have been waiting since September 1 on news of the future of e-tolls. We trust the government will provide sound reasons behind its decision to pursue this system, but nevertheless stand firm in our belief that no matter what these are, Gauteng motorists will reject them,” added the association.