At the Southern African Rental and Leasing Association’s (SAVRALA) annual general meeting held on Oct. 27 in Johannesburg, its members — representing more than 450,000 vehicles — agreed not to register their vehicles for “e-tags” until their tolling concerns have been addressed by the government. The tolling is set to begin in February and is part of the “Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project” (GFIP).
In a statement from the organization, SAVRALA cites the lack of clarity regarding the enforcement of tolling, the burden of additional administrative costs on Gauteng road users and the risk posed to road users by cloned registration plates as some of its outstanding concerns. Members at the meeting were concerned that those registered with the “e-tags” would end up carrying most of the toll’s burden.
According to Business Day of South Africa, Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele halted work on GFIB, and on Oct. 31 the Congress of South African Trade Unions called for clarification on tolling for the phases of the project that have already been completed.
SAVRALA is asking, though, that the Minister of Transport “halt all processes related to the tolling of national roads,” adding that the Minister’s view that the “consultative processes should be allowed to take place to offer concerned parties an opportunity to share their views on the toll road program” is supported by the organization. However, members are also asking that even the intent to implement tolling on Gauteng be halted.
“The expected administrative costs, conservatively running into billions, could be replaced almost overnight by an additional fuel levy without any wasteful administrative costs,” SAVRALA states. “Funds raised by the fuel levy could be allocated to key national infrastructural projects, such as the GFIP.”
SAVRALA’s members will again review their position on the implementation of planned urban tolling in Gauteng at its November meeting.