E-tolls for who? Most South Africans will not pay e-tolls and view the system as corrupt‚ a study by the Automobile Association (AA) found.
The Road Funding report by the AA compared the road funding methods of various countries and discussed the best practices for it.
E-tolls were implemented in 2013 as a method of paying for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
The tolling system has received tremendous backlash from the public‚ with the highest compliance rate‚ 40%‚ reported in 2014.
The report revealed through a survey that South Africans showed a negative attitude towards the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) and viewed the e-toll system as corrupt.
“Respondents feel that they are not getting value for money when paying e-tolls. Legal measures are unlikely to increase compliance rates.
“It is unlikely that Sanral will be able to convince more people to comply. Sanral may have also reduced compliance rates by temporarily suspending historic debt collection‚ as it is perceived as an unfair decision towards those who have been paying e-tolls‚” the AA said in its report.
It further called on Sanral to suspend the e-tolling system with immediate effect‚ saying it should reconsider potential road funding options.
The association considers the following as the way forward:
- The immediate reimbursement of monies collected to those who have paid to date;
- The introduction of a levy linked to the general fuel levy which is ring-fenced for e-tolls; and
- The immediate cessation of harassment by Sanral of motorists who remain committed not to pay under the current model.
“We believe implementing these steps will go a long way to regaining the trust of Gauteng motorists‚ and South Africans in general‚ which has unfortunately been eroded over the course of the disastrous e-toll implementation‚” it said.
In an open letter sent with the report‚ the AA also called on transport minister Fikile Mbalula to scrap e-tolls.
“The findings of the research are clear and unambiguous: the current model for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) has failed‚ and will continue to fail if pursued.
“This is not the view of the AA. This is the view of those who are being asked to pay for the e-tolls system‚” the letter reads.