‘Frustrating, but not surprising’: Outa slams delay in scrapping e-tolls
Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage urged those still paying for e-tolls to stop.
An e-toll gantry is seen along the N1 near Roodepoort on 28 February 2021. Picture: Michel Bega
Wayne Duvenage, the CEO of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), said he is not surprised the deactivation of e-tolls has been postponed, but he added there is no good reason for government’s delay.
The deadline for the deactivation was 31 December 2022. The gantries, however, are still active.
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said the delay was “due to the need to finalise key components of the MOU between the national government and the provincial government”.
In November, it was announced that Gauteng was expected to contribute 30% of the R43 billion that Treasury needed to decommission e-tolls. This means that Gauteng would have to pay R12.9 billion.
Speaking to SABC News, Duvenage said Outa cannot understand why the deactivation has been delayed.
He added that although the deactivation needs to be gazetted, government has had enough time for this to take place.
“That could have all been done in the last two months, but for some reason this procrastination, this ineptitude, this indecisiveness just continues,” Duvenage said.
“[Government] has missed so many deadlines over the last number of years, so we’re not surprised but it is very frustrating,” he added.
In a statement, Outa urged the few motorists that are still paying towards the “defunct” e-tolls to stop doing so.
“We maintain that the very small percentage of road users who are still paying for e-tolls are wasting their money, as the likelihood of getting a refund is slim to zero,” it said.
Speaking to CapeTalk, Duvenage said there are no consequences for motorists who don’t pay e-tolls.
“They stopped summonsing in 2019, they cannot withhold your vehicle licences or driver’s licences, there is no blacklisting, no credit record issues. All the threats they had in the beginning to coerce people to pay cannot be applied,” he said.
The Outa CEO estimated that 10% of motorists are still paying e-tolls. He said they are likely businesses with government contracts.
“The rules are if they have contracts with government, they have to pay their e-toll bills. But that makes those businesses uncompetitive.”
Duvenage said if the few remaining motorists still paying for e-tolls stopped, the whole system would come to a grinding halt.
“There are people earning money off this revenue and that’s probably why they don’t want to pull the plug as soon as they should.”