In a statement issued on Sunday (15 April 2012), the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) spoke out strongly against newly published e-toll tariffs, which it said would see Gauteng freeway users not registered with SANRAL paying fees six times higher than those with tagged vehicles.
New tariffs published in the Government Gazette by the Department of Transport specifies a category of road user termed “alternate user” that will pay R1.74/km when travelling the tolled freeways in a normal car.
Previously the highest rate for light vehicles was R0.58/km when travelling without an e-tag. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced this reduced tariff earlier this year, along with various discounts and an exemption for minibus taxis and commuter buses.
However, OUTA noted that the newly published tariffs make no mention of exemptions for public transportation.
“In the absence of any details at this late stage, it must be assumed that they are in fact not exempt,” OUTA chairperson Wayne Duvenage said.
Duvenhage added that the absence of clarity on the criteria for exemptions has further implications for both vulnerable groups (e.g. pensioners, mobility impaired) and the tourism industry which has numerous permitted vehicles and drivers similar to minibus taxi operators.
“This once again highlights the lack of transparency and insincere approach by SANRAL which may further drive a wedge between the citizens of Gauteng and the authorities on the matter of e-tolls,” Duvenhage said.