We have all waited with bated breath since the announcement of the Gauteng e-toll review panel on July 10.
We all believed that maybe, just maybe, the system would be scrapped. We’ve had good reason to believe that it might be in jeopardy, because in spite of what Sanral’s ad campaigns might suggest, collections from Gauteng e-tolls has shown a steady decrease every month.
The latest statistics show that collections are almost 40% lower in December 2014 than June 2014. While collections reached R119.52 million in June, this has gone down to R72.35 million. This is much lower than the forecasted R126.04 million.
It is clear from these findings that the question of compliance remains. This is in spite of the fact that earlier in May it was reported that a hybrid funding model is being discussed to ease the financial pressure off of Gauteng motorists and to increase their buy-in. This model for highway upgrades includes higher motor vehicle licence fees, turning off certain gantries, increasing off-peak discounts, and introducing time-of-day exemptions.
It is not yet clear which of these options will be agreed upon and implemented, but the most popular seems to be the reduction in the monthly cap for motorists who have e-tags. The cap is currently set at R450 and a reduction on this limit could sway many who have yet to be tagged.
Another influential factor is the fact that legislation is in place to prosecute road users who haven’t paid their tolls. This decision, of course, lies with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who are reportedly not eager for e-toll prosecutions. Even Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has gone so far as to say that government is not eager to criminalise large portions of Gauteng voters.
But what if the worst happens and those that have chosen to oppose the e-toll system by not getting tagged or paying the tolls are in the position of breaking the law? How far will the ramifications go?
The future of e-tolls remains, as ever, elusive and unpredictable. What we at Auto & General can state for certain, is that your current e-toll situation, including whether or not you have been tagged or have unpaid tolls, will not play a role in how we measure and account for your risk, and will not influence your monthly premiums.
Our primary interest is in ensuring that you benefit from our range of vehicle insurance options, and that you are made aware of how we have developed these products to include certain Assist Services at no additional cost to you.