Outa has called the Transport Ministry’s decision to set up an etolls fees exemption for disabled drivers and those driving disabled-friendly vehicles, “meaningless”.

Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters officially gazetted the exemption on 5th August, which exempts Class A2 vehicles (which are light motor vehicle adapted for use by people with disabilities).

Vehicles owned by non-governmental organisations and non-profit organisations established for health care, welfare or humanitarian purposes, or education and development have also been exempted.

The exemption for the disabled includes persons who have long-term physical‚ mental, intellectual or sensory impairments and includes medical conditions such as autism‚ mental health‚ epilepsy and loss of hearing with vehicles registered with Sanral.

“While the exemption process for the transportation of people with disabilities appears to be noble and good, the cumbersome nature of the procedures that have to be applied, makes the regulations meaningless for many, in that medical records need to be obtained from the disabled person being transported and then, records need to be kept of each trip, followed by after the fact rebate applications having to be made,” Outa said.

“When one weighs up the cost, effort and time taken to implement and manage this process, it hardly seems worth the effort,” Outa Chairman, Wayne Duvenage said in a statement. “It appears clear to us that Sanral and the department of Transport have not taken note of the requests and needs of the disabled community for their practical requirement for exemption from e-tolls.”

Outa added that it supports the QuadPara Association of SA (Qasa) stance on the matter, after the association said the exemption was a burden and doesn’t simplify the process at all.

“Outa supports Qasa in their request for the exemption process for the disabled to be reviewed and it current format is virtually meaningless,” It said.