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Update: Etoll review panel too little too late?

18.07.2014

LAST week we brought you news about Gauteng Premier, David Makhura’s decision to deploy an Etoll Review Panel, to assess the efficacy of the current system in collecting toll fees.

Since then a panel of 10 reviewers have been appointed, which include:

  • Muxe Nkondo (Chairman)
  • Patricia Hanekom
  • John Ngcebetsha
  • Vuyo Mahlathi 
  • Luci Abrahams
  • Fiona Tregenna 
  • Anna Mokgokong 
  • John Sampson
  • Lauretta Teffo
  • Chris Malikane

The remaining five were yet to be announced at the time of writing.

Business Day recently reported there’s little chance that the panel will scrap e-tolls altogether.  According to its website, the Department of Transport has made it clear that the system is here to stay. I have to say that I agree with this sentiment; all of the money pushed into the gantry infrastructure and those much-hated etoll buildings, will surely not go to waste.

As Business Day suggests, the panel will likely reduce tariffs and give the poorer road users a break. Last week I reported on the findings from WesBank on how people are struggling with personal mobility costs due to etolls and our ever increasing fuel price which is set to increase again at the end of July according to the AA. That’s not to mention the rise in the cost of living in general linked to the increased transport costs.

Now we have heard that Sanral has confirmed that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has appointed two senior prosecutors to begin prosecuting those who have not paid their outstanding fees. One can only assume that everyone will rush off to pay their bills. However, the amount of time it will take to process all the millions of Rands owed, we may see the system scrapped.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has responded to this and said that Sanral should have waited until the review panel had published its findings in four months’ time. I have to agree with them on this one; how are people supposed to know what to do? Imagine the public outrage if they are forced to pay their outstanding fees only for the system to be scrapped, forcing them to pay yet again for the alternative funding method.

Outa has called on the public to help by raising more than R3-million in funds for their newly-launched Rule of Law campaign which aims to fight Sanral in court for prosecuting motorists.

Update 18 July 2014:

The NPA has announced that the two prosecutors who were recently assigned to the e-toll case are not there to prosecute those who haven’t paid, but have been deployed to investigate whether there are ground to prosecute those who haven’t paid.

 NPA’s Nathi Mncube told Eye Witness News, “We will then look into that matter on its own merit and make a decision on whether to prosecute or not,” he said.

 

Article written by Sean Nurse
18.07.2014
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