Dipuo Peters makes idle threat on e-tolls – Outa

2014-09-29 16:22

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters’ comments that not paying e-tolls means not paying insurance companies is startling, says the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance.

“We’re not sure which insurance companies she is referring to or if this is merely a threat, but if so it would be an idle one,” said Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage today.

“Contracts entered into by the government are done so on behalf of the people and in the event that authorities have made an unsound or poor judgment by selecting the wrong mechanism they need to acknowledge their errors and then work with the stakeholders, particularly society, to find the most efficient way to reimburse the loans.”

Peters reportedly said at the opening of Road Accident Fund offices in Kimberley, Northern Cape, on Saturday that South Africans had an obligation to pay for e-tolls so that the government could repay loans from pension schemes and international funds.

“As South Africans, we need to pay for the infrastructure that we have so it should not become desolate, we should be able to operate and maintain it,” she was quoted by the SABC as saying.

“The infrastructure which is our freeways that you see in Gauteng and all over is part of the infrastructure that we build with money that was loaned from pension schemes and international markets – it must be paid back.

“And if we say we are not going to pay e-tolls it simply means we should not pay the insurance companies their money.”

Peters’ spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso could not be immediately reached to confirm what the minister meant by “insurance companies”.

Duvenage said decisions around the e-toll system were taken without people’s input and without their best interests being taken into account.

“We are confident that the e-toll system is failing, because it will never achieve the compliance levels and revenues required to finance the debt,” he said.

“The dismal compliance levels, at below 40%, appear to be declining, because many people who were previously tagged have indicated their decision to de-tag and halt their contributions to a seemingly defunct system.”

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