9 October 2013:
The AA’s reaction to the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision
The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) respects the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to allow the tolling of Gauteng’s highways. However, it is disappointed that the voice of the public has not been heard in this eTolling saga.
The concerns of South African citizens have not been addressed or acknowledged, and it is a travesty that improved road infrastructure, which is so essential to this country, is being layered with unnecessary costs by adopting this particular method of funding when there are cheaper alternatives.
“The on going fight against eTolls has not been about users refusing to pay for improved roads, but rather about the unnecessary, exorbitant and unacceptable additional costs that the eToll system imposes on the citizens of Gauteng, and which is intended for roll out to more Gauteng highways and other metropolitan areas across the country,” says the AA.
Aside from the SANRAL maintained highway network, there is a massive backlog in road maintenance across the country. Deteriorating road infrastructure and badly maintained roads have a direct impact on South Africa’s already poor road safety performance.
The AA calls on government to provide transparency on what the current national fuel levy of R2.13 per litre, paid by all South African motorists, is being allocated to and for a dedicated fund derived from this levy for road infrastructure improvement to address the road maintenance backlog. Following this court ruling on eTolls, there is an administrative process that will now follow.
The public will have until 9 November to comment on the gazetted eToll tariffs, while a commencement date is yet to be announced. Motorists need to be aware that there is no legal requirement to purchase an e-tag. The AA will continue to update the public and its members via various media channels as matters unfold.