Three years after Gauteng's e-toll scheme was launched, on 3rd December 2013, the operation has failed miserably to live up to its originally planned expectations.
In April 2012, SANRAL argued in court that they would achieve 93% compliance levels. This over and above the fact that they would generate average income levels of over R3bn per annum. This would equate to roughly over R260 million per month. Of which they would use approximately two-thirds to settle the bonds and one-third (over R1bn) to pay the collection process managed by Kapsch TrafficCom.
SANRAL's Revenue To Date
The below graph gives a timeline of SANRAL's e-toll revenue levels.
“Our research shows that, around the world, these electronic toll payment schemes require compliance levels well upward of 80% in order to succeed,” says Wayne Duvenage, Chairperson of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).
“At best, and only after a multi-million rand marketing campaign, which threatened motorists with criminal records, the scheme was able to achieve around 40% compliance levels at R120m per month by mid-2014. Today, that level has dropped to below 18% and around R60m per month.”
Road users at the end of September owed SANRAL R6.2 billion in unpaid e-tolls.
SANRAL's Debt To Date
As of this week, SANRAL’s e-toll debt begins to prescribe at a rate of around R10m per day.
This means that, unless road users were summoned or formally acknowledged the debt, they would be able to defend themselves by raising prescription as a defence in court.
Mr Vusi Mona, General Manager for communications at SANRAL, recently started to threaten motorists again. He did this with licence disc problems or used vehicle sales challenges as a result of outstanding e-tolls.
OUTA maintains that these are hollow threats. They urge the motoring public to notify the organisation of any instance when their vehicle license renewals are problematic as a result of unpaid e-tolls. Or, if any used car dealer refuses to trade in their vehicle as a result of unpaid e-toll bills.
“These actions would be tantamount to harassment and an infringement of their constitutional rights. A stringent class action against such coercive tactics may be instituted against the authorities in these instances,” says Duvenage.
OUTA comments that, after all this time and with every indication that the scheme has failed, what more does the Minister of Transport need in order to realise the e-toll scheme will never be successful.
What's your opinion of the e-toll?