Tolls increase, caps remain

JOYCE MOATA: I did not know. If I worked in Pretoria and travelled from Soweto I would get an e-tag. Even though I don't agree with it, I do pay e-tolls but luckily I mostly avoid the toll road.

The Automobile Association (AA) claimed last week that only some of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) users were informed of the 6,04 per cent increase on toll tariffs from 3 March.

The AA claimed that Sanral’s apparent lack of communication in announcing the increase meant they have again missed an opportunity to engage meaningfully with the public. “We warned last year that Sanral must try and win support from the public, but it seems its attitude to motorists remains arrogant and uncaring.

PIERRE FOURIE: I did not hear about the increase. I also never really use the highway so I don’t have an e-tag. I also don’t agree with e-tolls.

“We will not be surprised if, given this attitude, and the prevailing economic situation in South Africa, more motorists decide not to pay their tolls. Sanral would do well to remember it is a service provider to their customers, the motorists of South Africa, and yet its attitude conveys the opposite message,” the AA said.

VIJAY MOODLEY: I did not hear about the increase. I will not get an e-tag either. From the start the public was not committed to this. This is not a South African system and until they can prove the money is coming back into the country, I will not support it.

Mona hit back at these reports, calling them misleading. Toll tariffs on national roads, Mona said, were adjusted in line with the Consumer Price Index on 3 March, adding that the Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, approved the tariffs and the adjustments were gazetted and published on 16 February, allowing time for comments from the public and interested parties. The 6,04 per cent increase in general toll tariffs is to keep track with inflation, Mona said.

The AA has, for a long time, called for toll fees to be replaced with a ring-fenced amount as part of the general fuel levy so that motorists aren’t paying tax twice for the use of public roads. But Sanral said that including a provincial fuel levy would be approximately 3,44 times higher than a national fuel levy.

DAVID NDWAMATO: I heard of it. I used to have an e-tag but threw it away as soon as e-tolls came in. There is no cap, they just want money. My first bills were thousands of rands and I cannot afford that.

If you have not stayed up to date with your e-toll debt, you will still be required to settle existing accounts. You can repay it with a one-off 60 per cent discount on the arrears and an option to pay over six months. But many road users are still going with the option of not making any payments at all.

Road users are still getting accounts that could, if you are not a registered e-toll payer, cost you over R700 a month. The agency’s spokesperson Vusi Mona reminded that the tariffs include a monthly cap for registered e-toll users.

THABILE SHABANGU: I heard of the increase on the radio. I already have an e-tag and I do see the discounts. I am a law-abiding citizen and believe Gauteng roads are the best, (other provinces’ roads are bad) so, therefore, I pay for it.

“There is a R250 per month cap for vehicles of Sanral account holders. This has not changed and remains applicable irrespective of the number of gantry passes or the distance travelled on Gauteng e-toll roads.”

Unregistered road users will, however, have to pay the increased tariffs on the GFIP road. Taxis and public transport buses also remain entirely exempt from toll fees.

Chantelle Fourie

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