Southern Africa Vehicle Rental and Leasing Associations (SAVRALA) is encouraged by the announcement by the new South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) Board to apply its mind to the serious concerns raised by the great range of both local and national stakeholders who have opposed the current GFIP eTolling implementation plan which is now delayed. SAVRALA would welcome any opportunity to present its concerns to the new Board and have a constructive discussion about the funding of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP). SAVRALA looks forward to further updates on this development and in particular the applicable timelines.
At a special SAVRALA members meeting, it was agreed that the Association would continue to oppose the current GFIP eTolling implementation plan and, if necessary, take legal action. The members confirmed that they were not unwilling to pay for the GFIP (or other road) improvements but wanted a more cost efficient funding model which the national fuel levy presents.
Further SAVRALA believes that only a very small number of about 20,000 Gauteng public road users are included in the reported 213,000 etags registered with SANRAL to date. It believes that the very large majority of etags may be held by financial institutions and a few mid-sized corporates, however, SAVRALA awaits further detail from SANRAL in this regard. It is, however, obvious that the general public, despite the expensive SANRAL marketing campaign, have given a clear signal to SANRAL that it rejects its eToll plans.
SAVRALA also believes the current investments in etags, infrastructure, staff and vehicles need not go to waste. Should the new SANRAL Board recommend to the Minister of Transport that the national Fuel Levy be used for the immediate SANRAL funding requirements, the current GFIP Open Road Tolling (ORT) infrastructure and etags, for example, could be used to assist in several Gauteng pilot projects to help better manage the current traffic violation process and even the prepayment of vehicle licence discs. We should look to try and utilize the available technology in a more value adding and innovative manner. SAVRALA hopes that the very contentious GFIP funding debate can be resolved quickly, without any legal action.