The Automobile Association (AA) has called recent remarks by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on e-tolls “disappointing and out of step with the sentiments of the majority of Gauteng motorists.
Mbalula said that the controversial project would not be scrapped and that an e-toll funding solution would be found.
The AA has reiterated its long-held view that the e-toll system in its present form will continue to fail as most motorists had taken a stand against making e-toll payments.
Mbalula said all national roads had to be maintained “… which meant the e-toll system cannot be scrapped”.
“The funding model that we have employed as a country for our roads is affected by our attitude towards e-tolls, but we are working on that, and an e-toll solution will be found,” said Mbalula.
People have instead proposed the scrapping of the system and reimbursing funds to those who have historically paid.
“We have also called for the ring-fencing of a portion of the existing general fuel levy to fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project [GFIP] as a more sustainable funding mechanism for e-tolls,” said the AA.
The GFIP is part of a broader transport problem in the province. Gauteng motorists are being saddled with a financial burden to maintain a major route, but other transport needs are not being met.
“One of these are the costs associated with the Gautrain, which only services transport needs of a minority of citizens and runs contrary to the concept of the user-pays principle which the government advocates,” said the AA.
Last year, the Gauteng transport department paid R1.9 billion to a private company, Bombela, which operates the Gautrain as part of a patronage guarantee.
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