The company which manages e-tolls has proposed writing off 20% of their debt if motorists become compliant. Photo: File
The organisation undoing tax abuse (Outa) believes that writing off past e-toll debt if road users agree to pay won’t work as similar initiatives had already proved futile.
Last week Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) and Sanral suggested a scheme to incentivise defaulting toll road users to pay by writing off their a debt for each year of compliance until all historical debt is forgiven.
“This would essentially mean that for every year of compliance, Sanral would write off 20% of historical debt,” it said in a statement.
“After five years a newly compliant road user would be debt-free.”
However, Outa has labeled the suggestion a “desperate attempt by the Austrian-owned company to keep its business interests alive domestically”.
“These carrots had been tried before and they failed dismally,” said Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage .
“In 2015/16, Sanral offered a 60% discount along with a payment plan to those who had defaulted during the first two years of operation.”
“The discount had the impact of raising less than 2% of the outstanding e-toll debt and a continued decline in compliance levels followed.”
Outa said e-tolls was unfit for the purpose of settling the freeway bonds as it had lost the support of the people.
“Offers and carrots of this nature signifies an ignorance (sic) of the intellect and the will of the public,” said Duvenage.
“The public will still seek answers as to why Sanral paid R17,9-billion for the freeway upgrade when sufficient research showed this to be grossly overpriced by around double the value.”
Duvenage said it was clear ETC was unable to learn from past mistakes and continued to ignore public refusal to participate in a grossly irrational, inefficient and expensive scheme.
Earlier this month Gauteng premier David Makhura once again reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to doing away with the road tolling system.
Following an “extremely unfortunate and deeply regrettable” social media exchange between transport minister Fikile Mbalula and finance minister Tito Mboweni, President Cyril Ramaphosa established a task team to find a viable solution to e-tolls.
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