Engineering News reports that e-tolls on Gauteng freeways are just a signature away. Once President Jacob Zuma has signed on the dotted line, implementation can be triggered. ZA Confidential sought reaction from our Panel of Experts…
Wayne Duvenage from OUTA:
It’s one thing to sign off on regulations and new laws; it’s another to govern and enforce them. E-tolling is not sustainable. It is too costly, extremely inefficient and too onerous to apply. For these reasons, it has lost the trust and support of society at large. This will result in high levels of non-compliance, which will bring the system down in a short period of time. It is not too late to halt the system and switch to more efficient funding mechanisms that exist in government policies.
Mike Schussler from Economists.co.za:
Well, it is coming. But with consumers under pressure, it is bad timing, as the economic cycle is just on an even par. If extra money also goes to tolls after huge petrol increases and electricity increases, Gauteng retail sales are going to suffer in the next month or two.
Dawie Roodt from the Efficient Group:
The huge public outcry against the toll roads is probably a form of tax revolt. The tax burden has been increasing in recent years, yet capital expenditure was totally insufficient while social expenditure was emphasised. Now that our capital infrastructure needs more money, additional funds are required – which is nothing other than an increase in the tax burden.
Business Leader Michael Tatalias:
My concern would be that they pleaded to the Constitutional Court in August last year that they would start in two weeks if the injunction (to prevent e-tolls) was overturned. Why haven’t they started already? Are they technically able to? Why the delay? Or are they having second thoughts? They should see that the people are dead set against it.
There are strong doubts that the e-tolls will be easily enforceable if enough people fail to register. There have been reports that the toll levels may again be reduced prior to implementation. If so, the campaigners will have achieved a long delay and lower tolls. This might make the system more palatable, but high costs of petrol and other running costs have made motoring increasingly expensive. The tolls will just add to the misery.
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