DA challenges economist on tolls

2012-02-22 11:28

The DA has challenged a public finance economist on his finding that the e-tolling system will not affect the poor.

“The statement that toll fees on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) will only make the rich poorer and not hit the poor, cannot go unchallenged,” DA member of the provincial legislature Neil Campbell said today.

“(The) claim that most poor people will not have to pay tolls as they use public transport is not accurate as not all taxis and buses will travel toll free, but rather only those with licences and on approved routes.”

Yesterday, Dr Roelof Botha told reporters that the freeway project would result in unmitigated success and tangible benefits for South Africa.

“It will make the rich poorer, not the poor poorer,” he said in Johannesburg.

Botha’s research found that the freeway project would result in the highest income earning quintile (20% of the richest people) in Gauteng paying up to 94% of the toll fees, while most of the poor people would stick to public transport.

He said the freeway project would maintain South Africa’s international credit ratings, obviate the need for fuel levy increases, allow rapid investment in road construction, alleviate traffic congestion and enhance safety.

Botha argued that commuting time saved (because of four lanes) would translate into productive earnings.

Campbell disagreed and said that the cost of every item transported along the toll roads would increase because hauliers would resort to raising their prices for transporting goods.

“This will impact on every resident in Gauteng, as the price of every item transported, including food, will rise.”

He contended that every home owner would also have their rates increased because of additional municipal road maintenance required due to increased pressure on roads by drivers avoiding the toll roads.

“The so-called benefits mentioned by Botha of decreased traffic congestion on the tolled roads will be temporary as the number of cars using the freeway will increase by 7% a year, reaching capacity in just two years,” said Campbell.

“He (Botha) also disregards the enormous toll collection costs that will be saved with a simple fuel levy.”
The DA strongly disagreed with Botha’s stance and reaffirmed its opposition to toll roads in Gauteng.

Last year, the South African National Roads Agency Limited announced that tolling was imminent on 185km of the N1, N3, N12 and R21 around Johannesburg and Tshwane.

In terms of freeway project, these roads and their interchanges had been improved and costs estimated at about R20 billion would be recouped through toll charges.

Light motor vehicles were expected to be charged R0.40/km, medium vehicles R1/km, “longer” vehicles R2/km and bikers R0.24/km.

Qualifying commuter taxis and buses would be exempt.

E-tolling was placed on hold last month after a huge outcry that tolls were unaffordable.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.