The saga over the electronic tolling (e-toll) system on Gauteng’s highways continues. Political parties have reinforced their plea that e-tolls should be dropped because motorists cannot afford them.
The Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, has said that the e-toll system would help the South African government with the roll out of better roads and that the system would boost the economic growth of the country. She had also stated that alternative toll-free roads in Gauteng had been made available which would continue to be kept in good condition. In a media briefing on the 10th of May, Peters had declared that the e-toll system on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) “would not be going anywhere.”
Regardless of the government’s support of how the e-toll system would benefit the country’s economy, members of political parties have continued to voice their unhappiness with e-tolls. The DA has declared that “e-tolls are an enemy of the people” and that the party would use all the power at their disposal in the Gauteng province to “remove the burden of e-tolls”. ANC members in Gauteng also said e-tolls were not affordable, and have requested the ANC leadership to do something about the system.
The DA’s provincial leader in Gauteng, John Moodey, said that the province was the economic nucleus of the country and that the government should “free the province from the shackles of e-tolls and give life back to people who are slowly being suffocated”. The DA has warned that SANRAL’s decision to increase e-tolls would be the “last straw to break consumers’ backs”, because of the current state of the country’s economy.
According to OUTA (Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse), e-tolls were overpriced by more than 300% when compared to road construction pricing systems in other countries. OUTA has called on the minister of transport to acknowledge that such high costing was a problem for the country, and that the e-toll system needed to be “scrapped”.
In response to the alleged overpricing of e-tolls, SANRAL said that there was no unit cost for road construction that was an international benchmark that they were aware of.
It does not seem as though the saga regarding e-tolls will go away any time soon, as parties continue to voice their frustration with the controversial system. In one of her last briefings, the Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, declared that the government was aware of some of the financial challenges facing vehicle owners; however, she said that e-tolls were here to stay.
So, where does this leave motorists?
The fact of the matter remains that many vehicle owners cannot afford to pay e-tolls on the Gauteng highways, which puts them at risk of having their Car Insurance claims denied, as the transport minister announced that motorists with outstanding e-toll debt may not be able to renew their car licence disks. However, there’s no need to be in total dismay, because some Car Insurance companies have given assurance that an outdated licence disk will not have a negative impact on your claim, provided your vehicle is roadworthy. You are, however, encouraged to carefully review your policy to make sure that you are covered, even if your vehicle licence disk has not been renewed.