Friends and Fellow Democrats,
We are here today to voice our objection to the tolling of the existing Gauteng highways via the exorbitantly expensive e-toll method.
We agree that the highways have been improved so why are we not happy to pay these tolls?
Firstly, there remains uncertainty about exactly how much money will be generated by these tolls. It is also uncertain as to how much of that money will go overseas and who exactly will benefit from the profits. Is it only the Austrian company Kapsch or are ANC big-wigs also in line to augment their bank accounts?
Secondly, we are opposed to any government plan which requires the motorists of Gauteng to pay billions of Rands in collection costs when the alternative fuel levy route will cost nothing. We support the raising of funds via a national fuel levy which is ring-fenced solely for transport needs. Those in other provinces who state that they should not pay for Gauteng road upgrades must understand that Gauteng is the guinea pig regarding e-tolls and that should it succeed here e-tolls will soon ring all cities. At present their highways are paid for by the fiscus and we find it unfair that only Gauteng roads are not funded by national government.
Thirdly, we note with regret that the victims of apartheid spatial planning will pay relatively more in fuel levies because they cover greater distances. However this is also true for the proposed e-toll collection method as those in outlying areas will pass under more gantries. In fact, until the inequalities of apartheid are eradicated, those in former townships will pay more whichever method is used unless the e-tolls are paid for by national government or scrapped.
Fourthly, the alternative method proposed by the e-toll advisory panel, which was vehemently rejected by those who attended the consultative forum at Gallagher’s recently is based on:
- A retained but reduced e-toll component which has been rejected by the majority of Gauteng motorists.
- An increase in motor vehicle license fees. This suggestion must be rejected because licenses have been used to generate money for the fiscus which does not fund roads. Recent increase in licence fees have outstripped inflation by large percentages and although the DA is not married to a user pays principle the ANC is, and this stealth tax catches everyone with a vehicle in Gauteng. Strangely out of province and foreign vehicles escape this tax. Yesterday a provincial gazette was distributed which seeks to increase licence fees yet again.
- Increased tyre tax. This is another stealth tax which can be increased at will and which defies the user pays principle.
- Another suggestion that the South African Revenue Service and the electronic National Traffic Information service data bases should be combined must be rejected because eNatis is fatally corrupt and will contaminate the SARS system. It also infringes tax confidentiality which is unconstitutional.
The advisory panel states that it costs R6.25 billion per annum to run the e-tolls which cost R20 billion all-in to build. How is this possible? If we use the example of a 20 year house bond of R 1 million we would not be required to pay back R 312500 annually. Yet the government and its agent SANRAL, with superior bargaining and purchasing power is happy to force its citizens to pay this ridiculous amount annually. Are state lawyers useless or are connected cadres getting even richer?
Friends, SANRAL now admits that it paid more that it should have for the Gauteng Freeway upgrades. We told them this years ago but they denied it. SANRAL is making noises about reclaiming money for overpayment but why did it not question this when the cost was quoted.
SANRAL was chastised by the panel for not adequately informing the public. They are still not informing us.
We reject e-tolls because they are more costly than they need to be.
We reject e-tolls because we were inadequately consulted and then ignored before the system was introduced.
We reject e-tolls because they harm the Gauteng economy.
We reject e-tolls because government does not practice cost containment but profligacy and thinks that citizens can just continue paying unfair taxes.
Phansi nge E-tolls.