“Following the Finance Minister’s announcement to continue with E-Tolling of Gauteng’s freeways in the budget speech on 22nd February, SAVRALA has expressed their disappointment and have now moved to consider a legal challenge to this action” says Wayne Duvenage, Vice President of SAVRALA.
Our position has been made clear over the past whereby the decision taken to toll our urban freeways in Gauteng is nothing short of being dismissive of a number of rights of the citizens of this country. Government’s role is to use its citizen’s taxes wisely, efficiently and to ensure that costs are minimised when providing services and the necessary infrastructure to conduct business. This has certainly not been the case here.
The user pay principal being bandied about as one of the motivations for the government’s decision in this regard is weak, inconsistent and flawed. This is not a case of Gauteng’s roads and Cape Town’s roads and Durban’s roads. These are ‘all our’ roads and we should not entertain this charade around why non-Gauteng citizens should not have to contribute to Gauteng’s roads. Gauteng citizens have no problem with the un-tolled freeway upgrades that other cities have enjoyed in the past. To go down this road means that every other city’s freeway upgrades going forward will suffer the same fate, something we know will not be entertained by our fellow citizens.
Furthermore the expenses to administer and enable e-tolling is extremely costly and an unnecessary burden to the citizens of Gauteng, who by the way, contribute more than their fair share of taxation and revenue to the national treasury and are in effect the funders of other provinces. To suggest that the gantries are up so we must just accept this is tantamount to throwing good money after bad. This is not a done deal.
SAVRALA has now taken further steps and progressed with seeking advice and legal opinion on its position. “Our decision to seek a legal route is not being taken lightly or flippantly,” says Duvenage, adding “We are also receiving numerous calls from other organisations, associations and individuals to support our challenge and are assessing options to incorporate these into a coordinated strategy”. Further announcements in this regard and the developments in our legal challenge will be released as and when these are able to be shared.