Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene needs to face the public and spell out exactly who stands to benefit by continuing to impose e-tolls on motorists.
During his budget announcement yesterday the minister said that but that e-tolls would remain the principal funding mechanism of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
After the newly announced cap, e-tolls are now projected to earn R2 billion per year, based on the assumption that every motorist would pay. This of course is not happening.
Of that amount, half would service the GFIP debt while the other half would go to the collection agent.
It makes no sense to R5 to an agent to collect R10 when by using the fuel levy you can collect for free and save.
This of course begs the question: Why not scrap e-tolls in their entirety, ring-fence 10 cents a litre of the fuel levy, and service the debt?
All taxpayers eventually pay the e-toll via the passing on of costs through every loaf of bread and every litre of milk.
Government’s ongoing insistence to levy e-tolls, only to lose half to a collection agent, increases perceptions that certain individuals have interests in the e-tolls contract, and are benefitting at the expense of Gauteng’s citizens.
It is now the only logical conclusion. But is a perception and Minister Nene must address it.
It is time for minister Nene to come clean and state Treasury’s reasons behind the refusal to ring-fence a portion of the fuel levy to fund GFIP, when clearly this would be the cheapest way of paying for the roads.
Mike Moriarty MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance
082 492 4410