Business Unity South Africa : eToll System May Have To Be Delayed

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) submitted comments yesterday to the Department of Transport on the publication of the SANRAL Act, Act 7 of 1998. BUSA represents several industries and organisations that through the normal daily course of their activities traverse the roads of Gauteng. Bearing in mind that Gauteng represents around one third of South Africa’s gross domestic product, BUSA believes there are wider national implications. These regulations and the tariff schedule released by the department on Friday 13 April, have far-reaching and significant implications for the cost of conducting business within Gauteng and throughout the country.

While BUSA understands the logistical challenges faced by SANRAL in ensuring the payment of e-toll fees, the regulations contained in the Act, are extreme and place onerous and extensive burdens on business. It is also of concern that there seems to be a lack of alignment between this piece of legislation and other legislation already in existence. The combined costs of enforcing the regulations and those outlined in the tariff schedule have the potential to greatly increase the costs of conducting business in South Africa.

BUSA regrets the inability of the Department of Transport and SANRAL to communicate developments around the e-toll system effectively and transparently. In addition there has been poor perception management and inadequate consultation between government and its social partners on the e-toll system. It is disappointing that SANRAL, who plan to launch the e-tolling system on 30 April, have not fully addressed the public’s concerns. This should have been done several months ago. The continued uncertainty and confusion around the e-tolling system only increases unnecessary pressure and insecurity for all stakeholders in the economy.

Unless these serious practical problems can be timeously resolved, BUSA sincerely believes that the magnitude of challenges facing the e-toll system in Gauteng justify delaying its implementation on 30 April 2012 to a later date.