Sick of e-tolls? Well, the streets of Pretoria are the place to be on Friday. OUTA is leading protest action against the “grossly-ineffective” system.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse are joining forces with Cosatu on Friday morning, to make their staunch opposition against e-tolls heard.
The civil action group have been the biggest critics of Sanral and their electronic toll-fee systems, which are particularly prevalent in Gauteng. They have organised a march in Pretoria – scheduled to start at 9:00 – in order to show the government their disdain for the “grossly-irrational scheme”.
The march starts at Burgers Park in Thabo Sehume and Jacob Mare streets in Pretoria Central on Friday 2 November, before heading to the Union Buildings.
The problem with e-tolls
Prominent members of the DA have also expressed their concerns about e-tolls. Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga rallied against Sanral’s plans last month: Motorists are said to owe the department R11 billion as a result of non-payment. It’s estimated that a whopping 70% of drivers refuse to pay the e-toll fees.
However, in a recently released press statement, OUTA believe the non-compliance figure is closer to 75%. Drivers are openly rebelling against payment, despite renewed legal threats from Sanral.
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Sanral’s dire finances
For the 2016/17 financial year, R10 billion of irregular expenditure was racked up by this branch of government. Taxpayer money was also squandered in “fruitless” expenditure, to the tune of R15 million.
Wayne Duvenage is the CEO of OUTA, and he called upon more people to partake in “civil disobedience” towards e-tolls by refusing to pay them. He called the system “the most inefficient in the world”, in a scathing summary:
“It is grossly unfair of Government to expect the users of 1% of SANRAL’s road network to contribute 34% of SANRAL’s revenue. This is what we call a User Abuser scheme.”
“This electronic tolling scheme the most inefficient in the world, with more than 90% of revenue collected going to administration costs and virtually nothing toward the tarmac. OUTA will be marching to the Union Buildings in solidarity with others who share our call on Government to end this grossly irrational and inefficient scheme.”
The ramped-up action comes just a week after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni urged motorists to keep paying the e-toll fees, saying that a higher compliance rate would help fix the roads. OUTA remain unconvinced and vowed to keep the pressure up against Sanral.
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