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Seun wa Moutse
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Toll chaos serves no-one's interest!

10 June 2014, 09:49

There being no arguments that the toll roads in South Africa is in perfect condition, even the much publicized Gauteng toll roads are in excellent condition.

But everything points to the fact that the toll-system that will be effective from the 3rd December 2013 is destined for a great failure!

About 1, 8 million road users that will be using the toll roads on a daily basis have not bought their e-tags yet. They will receive invoices and fines through the post, even before the end of December 2013.

If motorist uses the toll roads 5 days a week, the government will be sending out approximately 432 million notices per year to people that have to be processed. That’s where the problem lies! If motorist refuse to pay the accounts and the fines, summonses will follow. The Courts, already not coping with its tremendous backlog and not geared to handle all of these additional cases will become even worse to say the least, and not geared to handle these additional duties.

It is on record that the Gauteng traffic department is currently struggling to handle or succeed to process the administration in reference to traffic and speed fines. In Johannesburg and Pretoria alone 3,8 million traffic fines were issued valued at R 1,9 billion during 2012/13, and only 480 000 of these fines totaling R 143 million was paid - a mere 7.56% of the total fines issued.

Another reason why transgressors will not pay their toll fees is the major concerns about the system that it has, even if the appeal court ruled in its favour.

The absolute concern stems out of the lack of transparency early in the process, and that cheaper options were ignored. Profits will in any case be paid to Electronic Toll Collections (ETC), the company that has been contracted to collect tool fees and it being majority owned by the Swiss Company Kapsch. Over 24 years the Gauteng roads would pay ETC more than R 18 billion (that is Eighteen Thousand Million Rand) just to collect the fees – if the system works.

With the N3 project between Johannesburg and Pretoria was launched, a lot of questions were asked about the awarding of the contract and tenders, and in whose pockets the profits will end up?

It is a minefield for road users and the government.

As soon as those with e-tags feel they are carrying the liability of e-tolls alone, non-payment by them can be the order of the day, and that would be the time that the house of cards will tumble.

It is in nobody’s interest – this unnecessary evil that has been forced onto us!

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