The etolls on Gauteng’s roads are still (and will be for some time) a hot topic of discussion, as the review panel set up by Premier David Makhura is currently listening to proposals, concerns and comments from public organisations.
Today it was the turn of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) to file evidence, and the organisation argued that, on the whole, it was is in favour of a fuel levy to pay for the freeway upgrades, instead of etolling.
In its presentation, SACCI explained its stance, saying that it supports the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and the infrastructure expansion in principles, but it has to be approached in a different way to which it current is.
“SACCI supports GFIP and infrastructure expansion in principle, but the administration cost of the e-toll is too high and the reported 40% admin cost to revenue is inefficient. SACCI is in favour of the user-pay principle, but this could also be met with a fuel levy increase”.
It highlighted that South Africa wouldn’t be the first country to use an increase in the fuel levy to supplement the cost of the etolls. It used the example of Argentina, Ghana, Japan, New Zealand, U.S., and Zambia who do.
As part of its policy recommendations, it said that the etolls brand needs a bit change.
“The etolls brand itself requires a rethink as even if the problems were to be fixed, the stigma of the brand will remain. SACCI supports an increase in fuel levy to fund the road infrastructure maintenance and expansion, as it a proven mechanism, has been implemented globally and is cheaper in administration.
“The administrative cost of system is a biggest problem, as it weakens public trust and engenders a culture of tax protest. There is no comparable increase in administrative quality, on the contrary, willing commuters are hindered from paying, and strengthens suspicions that e-tolls are unnecessary and costly.”[Image – CC by -ND 2.0/Axel Bührmann]