E-tolls could have been much worse: report

In a last-minute E-toll deal, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa secured a number of concessions for Gauteng freeway users, City Press reported on 24 May 2015 (Also see: You can’t renew your license without paying your e-tolls).

Citing “well placed sources”, the paper reported that Ramaphosa ensured a flat tariff for Gauteng motorists, whether they have an e-tag or not, as well as a lower monthly cap.

Ramaphosa’s deal came after ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile rejected an earlier proposal, saying that it did not give enough relief to E-toll road users.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura presented this first deal to senior ANC officials at Luthuli House after months of wrangling, the City Press reported.

However, members of the ANC in Gauteng who were pushing for e-tolls to be scrapped entirely said that Makhura had compromised too much.

City Press said that in a bid to please the ANC in Gauteng, Ramaphosa rejected the initial proposal and insisted that the deal he eventually announced on Wednesday (20 May 2015) be implemented.

Some officials of the technical team on E-tolls balked at this, saying it would be detrimental to Sanral, but Ramaphosa reportedly said that it was a political decision and they had to accept it.

The differences between the E-toll proposal originally brought by Makhura, and Ramaphosa’s final deal are outlined in the table below.

Cyril Ramaphosa announcing new E-toll dispensation with David Makhura in background
Cyril Ramaphosa announcing new E-toll dispensation with David Makhura in background (picture by GCIS)
E-toll deals Makhura’s deal Ramaphosa’s deal
Cap R390 per month R225 per month
Free gantry passes 20 per year 30 per year
Tariff structure Untagged users pay more Flat tariff – untagged light vehicles pay 30c/km
Concession None Outstanding fees discounted 60%
Shortfall R180m–R450m, which Gauteng must fund “Estimated R390m” — funded by National and Gauteng government

Ramaphosa’s deal did introduce a new major point of contention — linking outstanding E-tolls to vehicle license renewal.

This has resulted in renewed public outcry against the system.

Opposition groups such as Justice Project South Africa and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) were quick to point out that it is currently not legal to deny motorists their car licence discs if their E-tolls aren’t paid up.

Outa also said that Ramaphosa’s deal does not address the fundamental problem it has with E-tolls: the cost of collection thanks to the contract with Austria-based Kapsch TrafficCom remains unacceptably high.

Phased implementation

In a column published in the Sunday Times, Ramaphosa wrote that the new E-toll dispensation will be implemented in phases.

The new R225 cap and revised tariffs will be implemented in the next 2-3 months, while the rest of the changes are dependant on legislative amendments and other regulatory processes.

“Regular updates will be provided as the new toll system is developed,” Ramaphosa said.

The full articles are available in the City Press and Sunday Times published on 24 May 2015.

You can’t withhold car licences over e-toll non-payment

Bad idea to use license discs for e-toll collection: Outa

You can’t renew your license without paying your e-tolls

Massive e-toll price cuts announced

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E-tolls could have been much worse: report