The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) CEO Wayne Duvenage has called on companies supporting e-tolls to show moral courage and stop keeping the system alive.
Duvenage said it has been a year since Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana promised an end to e-tolls during his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement.
On 23 October 2022, Godongwana announced the government’s alternative funding mechanism to address the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) debt.
Shortly thereafter, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi confirmed that the e-toll scheme would be deactivated by 31 December 2022.
Lesufi also mentioned the possibility of refunding a substantial sum of R6.8 billion to those who had previously paid.
These announcements sparked hope that the failed e-toll system would finally end. However, a year later, Gauteng motorists still grapple with this “unjust system”.
The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) signed an e-tolls collection extension in 2022 despite the plan to end e-tolls.
“We are dismayed by the government’s failure to implement its own decision and deliver on the decision to scrap e-tolls,” he said.
“As we stand in October 2023, not a single step has been taken to implement the decision to scrap e-tolls.”
Duvenage highlighted that the e-toll compliance rate has plummeted to around 10%. “The public is not fooled anymore. They are not paying,” he said.
Apart from a few corporate organisations, he said nobody is paying for e-tolls. “They are the people keeping it on life support,” Duvenage said.
“If these organisations come to the party and do what everyone else is doing, the government would be forced to scrap the e-toll scheme,” he said.
“There are no penalties or consequences for them if they stop paying. We appeal to them to exercise moral courage. It makes no sense to continue paying e-tolls.”
“Until that happens, it will just limp along. Obviously, somebody is earning good revenue out of this.”