E-toll concessions don’t make it rational: OUTA

The e-toll concessions announced by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters do not reduce the system’s cost on road users, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said on Friday.

“There is never a dull day in the e-toll fiasco,” chairman Wayne Duvenage said in a statement.

“The simple reality is that easier payment conditions and qualifications for the various tariff structures do not reduce the cost of the e-toll collection process.

“Neither does it make the process more efficient or any more rational than it has been,” he said.

Peters made the announcement on Tuesday when she opened debate in Parliament about her department’s budget.

She told MPs the concessions were intended “to make it easier for people to comply” with e-tolls.

They included a “further extension of the payment period to avoid the violations processing centre process that would negatively affect vehicle owners”.

Peters said users would have 51 days, from the day they passed through the gantry, as opposed to the current seven days, to pay.

“A non-registered user will receive… 60 percent off the alternative tariff if they pay within 51 days.”

Registered users would get a 48 percent e-tag-holder discount, time-of-day discounts, frequent-user discounts, and a “R450 calendar-month cap for class A2/light vehicles”.

Peters said, to applause from African National Congress benches, that she trusted the concessions “will go some way towards lessening the financial burden on the part of users”.

Duvenage said it could be deduced from the concessions that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) realised how onerous it would be for authorities to make criminal charges stick.

“The prosecution process would have been like trying climb a cliff in a monsoon. That explains the 51 day extension,” he said.

The NPA said on Tuesday it had appointed two prosecutors to work with the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to deal with non-payment of e-tolls.

“We have assigned two prosecutors to work with Sanral with the view to establish whether the activities by some motorists constitute an offence in terms of the Sanral Act,” spokesman Nathi Mncube said.

“Section 27(5)(a) makes it an offence to refuse or fail to pay the amount of toll that is due and is punishable on conviction with imprisonment or a fine.”

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E-toll concessions don’t make it rational: OUTA