E-Tolls

This article in M & G on-line gives a quite comprehensive account of tolling and e-tolls in South Africa.

The Direct Democracy Forum‘s transport policy includes the assertion that a DDF administration will scrap all road tolls.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  •  All national roads are just that, they are national.  The entire economy benefits from a well planned and maintained national roads system, so the entire economy should pay for the system.
  • To have only direct users pay for a freeway system places the burden of cost on a very few users instead of sharing the costs amongst all the beneficiaries. This is patently unfair and unsustainable.
  • Tolling is a tax but instead of calling it a tax, the tolling system dresses it up as private enterprise with related income and expenditure confined and visible only to the private enterprises engaged in the system, thus a large portion of national expenditure can escape public scrutiny.
  • Recent experiences with SANRAL illustrate this point graphically.
  • Tolling and in particular E-Tolling is a very expensive form of taxation, adding a very expensive and unnecessary layer of cost to the use of freeways, which must be paid for by hapless and helpless road users.
  • E-Tolling will be computer dependent and anyone who has ever had any serious experiences with computers will know just how badly that can go wrong click go wrong click go wrong……
  • Toll concessionaires are not accountable for their business methods or structures.  All they are obliged to do is to deliver an acceptable product.
  • While concessionaires will likely deliver this acceptable product, there is nothing that obliges them to deliver the product at the best possible price to the road user.
  • The concessions are for periods in the region of 20 to 30 years.  This does not encourage competition but in fact encourages monopolies.

For all the above reasons a DDF administration will replace all toll roads with road development and maintenance paid for from the fiscus, funded in turn by TEAL, and controlled through a rigorous public tender system.  Teal is probably one of the most cost effective tax systems possible and a well run tender system will deliver the best possible price for road development and maintenance, with none of the administrative overheads imposed by tolling and e-tolling.

The buck stops at the ballot box

Leave a Reply