E-tolls: 9 ways South Africans will pay less

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
GCIS

@City_Press

The government has announced a new hybrid model for e-tolls reducing the toll costs but tightening the enforcement of e-toll payments.

Government's strategy appears to be to convince consumers that it has acted on their concerns that e-tolls should not be an unbearable financial burden but insistent that the user-pays principle stays.

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that:

» Motorists visiting Gauteng and passing through the gantries less than 30 times per annum will be exempt from paying

» Public transport remains exempted from e-tolls.

» A single, reduced tariff will apply to all motorists. As an example, the current standard tariff of 58c per kilometre for light motor vehicles will be reduced to 30c per kilometre. This single tariff will apply to all motorists within a vehicle class whether they have an e-tag or not.

» The monthly cap has been dramatically reduced. Users of light motor vehicles will not pay more than R225 a month. This is half the current monthly cap of R450 a month.

» Revised caps will also be introduced for other vehicle classes.

» E-toll fees that are currently outstanding will be discounted by 60%. Users will have six months within which to settle their debts dating back to December 2013 at the discounted tariff.

» There will be a monthly cap on the penalty for accounts in arrears. All users who do not pay tolls within the required 30 days will be obliged to pay double the toll tariff. To protect users from incurring high amounts of debt, this will be capped.

» Settlement of e-toll fees will be linked to motor vehicle licence renewal. To further simplify the process and ensure better integration of road management systems, motorists will need to settle any outstanding e-toll fees before vehicle licence discs are issued.

» More payment options and a simplified administration system are being introduced.

Ramaphosa said the new dispensation addresses concerns that were raised by the people of Gauteng.

Ramaphosa said the advisory panel that was appointed by Gauteng premier David Makhura in July 2014 to conduct a comprehensive impact assessment of e-tolls also recommended a hybrid funding model that will make etolls more affordable.

The panel found that:

* The implementation of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and e-tolls has benefited the economy and the people of Gauteng through a better quality road system, reduced travel time, improved fuel efficiency, reduced vehicle operating costs and improved logistics efficiencies.

* There is general acceptance of the user-pays principle.

* It was, however, found that in its current form, the e-toll system placed a disproportionate burden on low- and middle-income households.

The panel recommended that elements of the current e-toll system be reviewed to address the questions of affordability, equity, fairness, administrative simplicity and sustainability and a hybrid funding model should be found that includes significantly reduced tariffs, monthly caps and financial contributions by the Gauteng provincial government and national government.

“The new dispensation we are announcing today is a product of our engagement as national and provincial governments,” said Ramaphosa.

“We are announcing a dispensation that is fair, affordable and sustainable,” he said.

The significant reduction in tariffs and the new monthly caps will result in an annual estimated shortfall of R390 million in revenue to service the debt, said Ramaphosa. The shortfall will be shared between national government and the Gauteng provincial government.

“The new dispensation demonstrates that we are both a responsive and a responsible government,” said Ramaphosa.

He said it addresses the concerns of Gauteng motorists, particularly those from low- and middle income households, while ensuring a sustainable approach to the construction and maintenance of a road infrastructure.
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