Cape Town - Sanral believes that Gauteng road users are not against e-tolls. This follows announcement of a 60% discount on e-toll payments earlier in 2016.
However, with less than 5% of road users opting to take Sanral up on its offer, it's hard to understand why Sanral would make the statement it did.
Effects and perceptions of e-tolls
The implementation of e-tolls has been highly contested and the Qquality of Life 2015 survey provides some insight into the opinions of Gauteng residents towards e-tolling
Interestingly, fewer respondents changed their routes because of e-tolls (14%) than had been anticipated before the gantries were turned on (19% in 2013).
However, the actual impact of e-tolls on changing modes (11%) is only slightly lower than anticipated (12% in 2013).
Results of the survey
According to the survey: "Of the respondents who use Gauteng's freeways, those that are satisfied with the quality of the roads are more likely to pay. 34% of those who are satisfied with roads agree with the statement 'I will never pay e-tolls', and 42% disagree, indicating a willingness to pay.
"By contrast, those who are dissatisfied with roads show an equal tendency (38%) to agree or disagree with the statement “I will never pay e-tolls”.
"The racial breakdown highlights that over a third of African respondents (34%) say that they do not use freeways compared to only 15% of white respondents."
We asked readers "given a 60% discount, are you more likely to pay your outstanding e-toll debt?" and our homepage poll garnered more than 38 000 responses.
Yes - 2066 votes
No - 10 893 votes
Maybe - 1597 votes
I will never pay - 24 075 votes
Unsurprisingly, the majority of readers (24 075) said that despite Sanral's discount, they would 'never pay' outstanding e-toll debt. Only 2066 respondents said they were likely pay given a 60% discount.
The Organisation Against Tax Abuse (Outa), long-time opposition of e-tolling in SA, responds:
Outa said: "What is actually happening here is that Sanral is attempting to conflate the new road upgrade with the payment of e-tolls. No-one really denounces the need for the freeway upgrade which took place from 2008 to 2011, however, the vast majority of Gauteng motorists believe the introduction of the irrational and inefficient e-toll scheme is uncalled for and unacceptable. This is borne out in the low compliance levels, which OUTA estimates at being less than 25% on average since the inception of e-tolls in December 2013.
"The fact that less people are avoiding the freeway to evade tolls does not mean more acceptance thereof. Instead, it means that more people care less about the e-toll scheme and don’t pay anyway and thus have given up avoiding the freeway. Furthermore, following SANRAL’s claims in 2015 that 46,000 e-tags were issued to the taxi industry (to ensure their exemption status is applied), OUTA conducted research at various taxi ranks, only to find that less than 1% of taxi’s in Gauteng had e-tags fitted to the vehicles. Interviews with the taxi industry at the time indicated they were non-the wiser to these developments and there was a feeling of not caring whether e-tags were required or not, they were simply not going to pay for e-tolls. In other words, even those who are exempt from the scheme have shunned it.
"If indeed the public were in support of paying e-tolls – as Sanral claims – why then has the compliance been so low? Why also, was there less than 5% uptake in their recent 60% discount dispensation which ran for 6 months?"