The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) is concerned about the impact that the implementations of e-tolls will have on South African consumers.

Yesterday the Constitutional Court set aside the interim interdict which had previously prevented the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) from levying tolls on specific Gauteng freeways.

“While it is unclear at this stage when Sanral will be ready to levy the tolls, IMATU are very concerned about the effects these additional costs will have on its members and South African citizens in general. E-toll tariffs will increase the cost of transport and doing business in the Province, which will in turn affect the prices of goods and services. Many South Africans will have to dig deeper into their already dwindling disposable income to pay this additional levy,” explained IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koennig.

The process of e-tolling has been pushed by Government as the best method to collect fees to fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and create employment. There has, however, been large-scale rejection of the system, because of high operation costs, lack of transparency and allegations of fraudulent selection and procurement processes.

“We are closely monitoring all developments relating to the Gauteng e-toll salga and will keep our members up to date with any new information that comes to light. IMATU believes that alternative funding mechanisms for the GFIP should be explored. If more extensive consultation regarding the e-tolling system had taken place, the Government would have been far more aware of the opposition it would have to face upon implementation. While we firmly support the vision of a reliable, efficient and quality public transport system, further taxation of select road users is not necessarily the answer. In addition, the peripheral roads alongside and close to the highways must also be improved and maintained as part of Government’s new infrastructure project in order to address the real issue of congestion in the Gauteng Province,” stated Mr Koen.