E-tolling 'No Half Measures'
No agreement has been made on the fundamental issue of e-tolling through government's recent discussions with stakeholders.
The inter-ministerial committee, headed by deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, has met with several interested parties to engage on e-tolling.
The inter-ministerial committee, set up to assess the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and e-tolling, has been meeting with several interested parties to engage on the controversial system. The committee is headed by deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.
It met with Business Unity SA last week, with the Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association and the Road Freight Association on Tuesday, and with the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance yesterday (OUTA).
OUTA chairperson Wayne Duvenage says the association expects some positives to emerge from the discussions.
“They're not over yet. The deputy president has indicated that discussions will continue to take place.”
Duvenage adds that the committee has, through the recent engagements, heard some issues and public concerns that it wasn't aware of before and wants to engage further on the matter.
“Nothing was agreed upon. There's still a difference of opinion.” Duvenage explains that government is still talking about e-tolling and OUTA is still rejecting it. So there's no solution on that as yet.
“You can't half-toll. You either toll or you don't. We still say it's too expensive and inefficient.”
OUTA obtained an interdict against the implementation of e-tolling until the completion of a full judicial review. Government is currently appealing the interdict.
A joint statement by the committee and OUTA says the parties will continue consultations with a view to finding a solution.
Government and OUTA were in agreement on the need for roads that will serve the economy and citizens, the need for users to pay for road improvements, the need to decongest the country's roads, and the need for more efficient public transport.
“A key area of difference, the meeting agreed, was e-tolling as a mechanism for decongestion and funding of road infrastructure,” says the statement.
OUTA welcomed the development of an integrated and efficient public transport network in Gauteng but said it was necessary for this to be complemented by continued road improvements.
The association also reiterated its view that the existing national fuel levy be used to fund freeway improvements in view of the current use of the levy to build and maintain roads countrywide, and in view of Gauteng's significant contribution to gross domestic product and the national fiscus.
“Government stressed the need for users to pay for upgraded roads and the importance of combating road congestion, enabling commuters to make smarter choices in mobility and curbing urban sprawl, which feeds off individual car use, in the country's economic hub.”