With the announcement of the approval of toll tariffs by Cabinet, the AA has once again questioned the Minister of Transport’s intention of establishing a ring-fenced Road Maintenance Fund as announced at last year’s Road Construction and Maintenance Summit held in Midrand. It appears that all intentions of a fund to alleviate tolling have disappeared, leaving the public to foot the bill, the questions is: now what?
While industry as a whole now awaits SANRAL to announce the effective date for tolling to begin, the AA does not see the implementation of tolls, albeit at a slightly discounted rate, as a “victory for the people on the ground” as coined by Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi. Rather, it seems that with the exclusion of public transport from tolling, the usual suspects are left to foot the bill – more like another blow to the head of the motorist than a victory for the people.
“Commodities are going to cost more as a direct result of the tolls and effectively, the poor will be worst off”, says the AASA.
The issue of civil disobedience will be the next hurdle for government to overcome. If the public rally together and stand firm in the face of tolling by not registering for e-tags and flagrantly disregarding tolling costs and consequent fines, will the authorities have the wherewithal to manage a disgruntled 5 million motorists?
Affected industry groups have been expecting the toll announcement and, now that the tariff has been set, will be considering their next course of action in the days ahead.
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1126