Startling E-toll revelations: JPSA

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) spokesperson, Vusi Mona, made a number of startling revelations on Thursday, 15 May 2014, in an interview on Talk Radio 702.

This is according to the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) which recently issued a press release analysing the figures released by Mona.

Chairman of the JPSA, Howard Dembovsky, said that amongst other things Mona revealed that 700,000 people are paying E-tolls.

Mona further qualified this by saying that over a million people are registered and in amongst those were people who are exempt from paying.

“Mona and Sanral have repeatedly held that over 1.2 million users are registered for E-tolls,” Dembovsky said. “They have also stated that between 30,000 and 45,000 new registrations are taking place each week; however the 1.2 million figure has not grown since they started uttering this in February 2014.”

Additionally, if the registered users total 1.2 million, then Dembovsky said it is fair to say that 500,000 of those users are in fact exempt from paying e-tolls based on the information Mona revealed yesterday.

“This is the first time that we have heard any mention whatsoever of the quantum of exempt users under e-tolling and it is somewhat disingenuous of Sanral to claim that there are 1.2 million registered users when in fact, by Vusi Mona’s assertion, there are actually only 700,000 who are [actually] paying,” Dembovsky said.

Dembovsky said that this revelation also demonstrates that it is not accurate for Sanral to claim that 48% of the 2.5 million vehicles that allegedly use the Gauteng freeways are paying E-tolls.

If only 700,000 are paying, then that means the percentage is actually 28%.

“The situation of the ‘user pays principle’ was bad enough when we were misled to believe that 48% were paying,” Dembovsky said.

“In reality, Mona’s statements have highlighted that e-tolling is simply a ‘some users pay principle’ and nothing more,” he added.

Legislating companies into business “vulgar”

During the interview Mona also said “…despite their attitudes and their disrespect for the rule of law” (referring to OUTA), and later, “…and of course as Sanral, our toll portfolio is a business and we cannot sit back if we are not collecting…”

Dembovsky said that the concept of legislating companies into business and providing them with a “legally” captive customer base in doing so, is vulgar and smacks of corruption.

“Anyone who cannot see this is either blind or involved in it and offering bribes to motorists to come forward and register is just another manifestation of this,” he argued.

“There have been repeated calls for a referendum on E-tolls versus a dedicated, Gauteng-specific fuel levy and, despite repeated claims of e-tolls having been democratically implemented; government has simply ignored these calls,” Dembovsky said.

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Startling E-toll revelations: JPSA