Anyone still paying e-tolls is wasting their money as they won’t get a refund, says OUTA

Motorists pass through e-toll gantries on the N1 in Johannesburg. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams

Motorists pass through e-toll gantries on the N1 in Johannesburg. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams

Published Jan 2, 2023


Johannesburg – The civil society Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) said it is not surprised at what it called “another delay” in the final action to end e-tolls.

The provincial government failed to deactivate the e-tolls’ billing system as planned on December 31, 2022.

The province said aspects of the memorandum of understanding between the national and provincial governments regarding the deactivation of e-tolls still needs to be finalised this year.

Pressure from OUTA and unions led to Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana late last year announcing that the government would take 70% of the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (Sanral’s) debt while the province takes over 30%.

“This has been a repetitive situation for years now, and once again it proves decisiveness and clarity are missing on the e-toll issue. It is clear to us that finality to end the scheme will only happen when the authorities have gazetted the declaration of the Gauteng freeway network no longer being subjected to tolls, and that this final step was overlooked in their decision to end the scheme,” OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage said.

He added: “This means Sanral will continue to charge e-tolls to the very few who are still paying, until the matter is gazetted. Anyone who is still paying is wasting their money, as they won’t get a refund and for those who have refused to pay, there are no negative consequences for them.”

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mhaga, said the premier assured residents that there was no turning back on doing away with e-tolls.

“Premier Lesufi is thrilled by the progress made so far by the technical team assigned to deactivate the e-tolls’ billing system. The notice to switch off the e-tolls will be gazetted, with the switch-off taking place 14 days after the release of the gazette. The gazette will be released in early 2023, as agreed by the national Department of Transport,” Mhaga said.

Some citizens took to Twitter to express disappointment at the Gauteng government.

One user, Benoit Le Roy, wrote: “The fiscus has been raided dry for the past three decades and cannot bail out e-tolls or Eskom; these are the stark realities we have to face. With load shedding and the associated costs to the fiscus, civil servants’ exorbitant salaries will also be unaffordable and borrowing to pay them.”

Another user, Dinesh Sookdeo, wrote: “Crazy… Making announcements without details. It doesn’t matter though as very few are paying. Just costing unnecessary money to keep the system running.”

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