Sanral e-toll collection down to R687.7 million, shows system must be scrapped

The fact that the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has only managed to collect R687.7 million for the 2018/2019 financial year compared to the previous year when they were able to collect R1.87 billion once again shows that e-tolls are not working and should be scrapped.

This information was revealed in Sanral’s integrated annual report, which also indicated that the entity raised an impairment of R10.04 bullion on its total e-toll trade.

Motorists in Gauteng have refused to pay for e-tolls since it was implemented in 2013.

It is high-time that a solution is found to e-tolls in Gauteng.

At the end of August, the National Minister of Transport was supposed to make an announcement regarding e-tolls but instead asked for extra time to consult with all stakeholders on the matter.

A month has now passed, and we are still waiting to hear what the solution to e-tolls will be.

The DA has been against the implementation of e-tolls as it is an unfair tax burden on our residents who are struggling to make ends meet.

If no solution is found to e-tolls, then Sanral will see a further decrease in the collection of e-toll debt.

e-Tolls must be scrapped sooner rather than later.

The DA will continue to put pressure on Premier David Makhura to lodge an intergovernmental dispute on e-tolls and instead use the fuel levy to replace e-tolls and not bail out State Owned Enterprises (SOEs)

DA calls for speedy resolution to bus strike

by Fred Nel MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

The DA calls on the employers in the bus industry and transport industry unions to reach a speedy resolution to end the transport strike, which is entering its sixth day.

According to a statement issued by the transport unions involved in the strike, the wage negotiations started in January but there has been a delay in reaching a final wage increase agreement, which has led to the deadlock.

This industrial action is having a negative impact on both our economy and commuters. Thousands of commuters have been left stranded or have had to find alternative transport to work.

In many cases, commuters who rely on the bus service have had to fork out extra money, which they can ill afford.

In Gauteng, university students who rely on the Mega Bus to get to and from campus have been left stranded, while some school children were also affected.

We cannot have a situation where the education of our learners and students is comprised because they are unable to get to school and our economy cannot be hamstrung because of this wage deadlock.

Despite the fact that unions have the right to strike, both the unions and the bus industry must consider the impact of this strike and how it affects the lives of ordinary South Africans who rely on buses as their mode of transport on a daily basis.

The DA hopes that a speedy resolution will be reached and that bus services across the country resume as soon as possible.

DA to push for better Gautrain subsidy deal

The current Gautrain subsidy is the largest single item of expenditure in the budget of the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport, making up roughly 35% of its budget for the past financial year.

The recent announcement of the expansion plans for the Gautrain have focussed attention on the possibility that this high subsidy will be perpetuated should a new contract be signed.

This contribution makes it possible to subsidise each passenger trip by around R60, according to the Auditor General’s estimation.

Virtually all public transport systems worldwide are subsidised, but this is an unusually high proportion, to the extent that the Competition Commission will be looking into the matter in its current investigation into public transport in South Africa.

If the annual subsidy for Gautrain maintains a level of between R2 billion and R3 billion for the duration of the concession, the taxpayer would, over and above the R30 billion construction price tag, have paid well over R50 billion for this service.

The Gautrain is an efficient and extremely well-run public transport mode, but unaffordable for many residents of the Province.

The root of the problem lies in the contract that the Province signed initially with the consortium of concessionaries; the subsidy contains a large component known as the ridership guarantee, which effectively protects the concessionaries against ridership figures falling below a threshold determined before the system started operating.

The demand cycle of Gautrain unfortunately depends entirely on the two daily peak passenger periods, with low demand in between. The current system is unlikely to breach the key ridership threshold and the guarantee will almost certainly continue to operate for the expanded network envisaged.

The way out of this dilemma will be, whenever new contracts are signed, not to repeat the mistake of being dazzled by passenger projections, but to make a realistic assessment of ridership. To simply let the current subsidy continue without reanalysing the framework and doing the feasibility groundwork would be equivalent to perpetuating a debt trap for Gauteng taxpayers.

DA Gauteng debates Motion on Investment in Public Transport


The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Transport, Dr Neil Campbell MPL and DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Social Development, Justus de Goede MPL, during a debate on Gauteng’s public transport investment.

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

“ANC motion far removed from the reality of commuters”

• The current bus subsidy programme is a disaster, with commuters and bus companies both unhappy. Busses are old, unreliable, and unpunctual, and routes are often not serviced;
• The Gautrain is unaffordable to most commuters, it has cost far more than was originally calculated and continues to drain the provincial treasury via subsidies;
• The freight–hubs which were to serve Gauteng are currently only draining the economy; and
• Gauteng’s Driver Licence Testing Centres are inefficient and plagued with many corrupt officials. Many road users’ service delivery complaints have gone unheard.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Justus de Goede MPL

“Public transport in Gauteng requires thorough planning and coordination to be a success”

• A lack of coordination in public transport planning between the different spheres of government in the province is crippling growth and development in the sector;
• Public-private partnerships must be sought in order to ensure the sustainability of public transport in the province;
• The creation of the Gauteng Transport Authority, which aimed to streamline uncoordinated institutional structures, was announced two years ago, but there has been virtual silence since due to the lack of political will; and
• Two recent surveys paint a very bleak picture of public perceptions of the transport system and found that commuters are actually leaving the public transport network, and have lost confidence in it.

The full speech can be obtained here.