Increasing costs associated with road travel in South Africa will also make it harder for job seekers to find work, the Automobile Association (AA) said on Wednesday.
According to the AA, the higher cost to travel by road in SA will make everything more expensive and will have a direct and indirect impact on consumers.
It pointed out that job seekers often do not have the resources to pay current transport costs to look for work, let alone having enough for the higher costs.
"This, in particular, is worrying given the country's high unemployment rate," the AA said in a statement.
Toll fees and fuel levies
For example, toll fees across the country will increase on Friday March 1, adding more financial pain to already embattled consumers.
In the view of the AA, these increases will coincide with a likely increase to fuel prices in March, which, given the current data, look set to be significant.
"With the increase to fuel levies which comes into effect in April; the addition of a Carbon Tax on fuel (effective in June); the likely increase to fuel prices in March; and, now, the increase to toll fees across the country; consumers will see their money diminish even more," commented the AA.
"It may be convenient to keep increases in line with inflation from a messaging perspective, but the reality is that multiple increases to taxes, levies and tolls will have a cumulative effect. Consumers who are already struggling to make ends meet in our fragile economy will be even more hard-pressed now."
In the view of the AA, many consumers may be forced to make decisions on whether to continue paying for e-tolls.
"The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) may not like the outcome of these decisions," said the AA.
"This is especially important given Sanral's admission in Parliament in 2017 that the compliance rate for e-toll users on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) is only around 30%."
The AA again called on Sanral to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the motoring public in Gauteng instead of simply increasing its tolls annually.
"By increasing these tolls Sanral is, essentially, punishing the 30% who are already paying, instead of trying to find a new way forward for all road users and to bring the remaining 70% of non-payers into the fold," said the AA.
The Association says, given the different messaging around e-tolls in Gauteng, there is a need to fast-track a process which will bring a uniform policy approach between the provincial and national government on the matter.