The task team created by President Ramaphosa aims to propose a number of solutions to the problem of e-tolls, comprising plans which see the system scrapped entirely as well as a plan which would see toll rates be discounted dramatically.
Documents obtained by the City Press outline the task team’s plans, one of which would see the drivers charged 10 cents per gantry or up to a maximum of R100 per month.
“The likelihood is that tolls will be kept at reduced fees, possibly maximum R100 per user per month or just 10c per gantry pass,” a source told the City Press.
The task team is discussing keeping the e-toll system while reducing tariffs by 70% in an effort to encourage payment by drivers.
This solution aims to “maintain the user-pay principle, increase compliance to about 50% and recover some of the toll operational cost”.
In this case, debt servicing and repayment will be paid for by the government.
The second option would see e-tolls scrapped entirely, with the government taking on the cost of the failing system.
The task team has reportedly been unable to find common ground on a solution, and will present all available options to Cabinet to find a way forward.
OUTA recently met with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to share its views on the e-toll problem, arguing that the system cannot be resurrected.
“OUTA trusts that the Minister and his team will take heed of the input provided when finding a solution to the e-toll debacle,” said OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage.
The organisation also called for the construction costs to be investigated by an independent inquiry, along with an investigation into why the ETC operations service fee is 75% higher than the figure tendered.
OUTA said that compliance by motorists has dropped from the scheme’s highest point of 40% in June 2014 to around 20%, today bringing in just R55 million a month.
This has resulted in a shortfall of almost R250 million per month.
The organisation advised Mbalula to seek financing for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) from Treasury allocations or a hybrid of the fuel levy, which may be supported by a small inland fuel levy.