Reducing e-toll prices will not fix its dismal revenue situation: Outa
Reducing e-toll tariffs in a bid to entice motorists to pay will not rectify the "dismal e-toll revenue situation", the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said on Monday.
“What is needed is to abolish the e-tolls and seek alternative funding for the Sanral debts,” said Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage.
City Press reported on Sunday that a task team appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa was likely to present seven scenarios on the future of e-tolls to cabinet. A 70% reduction in fees or scrapping e-tolls entirely and raising the revenue via a "tax levy" were two of the options.
Outa said in reaction to the report on Monday that current compliance levels were at about 20%, bringing in R55m a month - a shortfall of almost R250m a month. Even if there was 100% compliance by motorists with a 70% discount, it would not bring much more revenue to Sanral, said Outa.
"Reducing the toll tariffs or reversing past debt to entice the public to come on board will never resolve the GFIP bond payment problem," said Duvenage. "Our view is the scheme should be scrapped and we have explained why this is the case."
Sanral tried reducing tariffs by offering a 60% discount on outstanding debt in 2015, two years after the scheme started operating. Outa said this incentive had raised 2% of the outstanding debt while compliance levels continued to decline.
"The administrative environment in South Africa will never support an efficient e-toll scheme and it is time for our government to realise this, as have other countries around the world which abandoned their failed e-toll schemes," said Duvenage.
"The Gauteng e-toll project is the most expensive and inefficient scheme in the world and will never achieve its intended aims of financing the overpriced Gauteng freeway upgrade."
Outa’s position on the e-toll saga, detailing various solutions, is set out in a 60-page position paper that was published in August.