E-tolls have finally been scrapped but government says historical debt still needs to be settled. Image: X/@DA_GPL.

‘Sanity prevails’: Outa welcomes scrapping of e-tolls

Outa says shutting down e-tolls was a multi-pronged battled fought through courts, official inquiries and protest action.


E-tolls have finally been scrapped but government says historical debt still needs to be settled. Image: X/@DA_GPL.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has welcomed the scrapping of e-tolls from 11 April.

This is according to a Government Gazette published on Thursday, 28 March.


The organisation has been at the forefront of the fight against e-tolls which were introduced to fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage said shutting down the e-toll scheme was a multi-pronged battle fought through courts and official inquiries, across social media, in protest action on the highways, bridges, and outside government offices, and in Parliament.

“But ultimately, it was the stand taken by hundreds of thousands of motorists and business leaders who defied the scheme and refused to pay their e-toll bills, supported by Outa’s promise to defend everyone who was summoned for non-payment of these bills, which brought the scheme to its knees,” he said.

The conflict that arose over e-tolls was presided over by seven ministers of transport, a trail of finance ministers, and three presidents, who collectively could not resolve the problem for twelve years.

“It has been a long road, but today, we can officially celebrate the end of e-tolling in Gauteng,” Duvenage said

“Bad laws need to be treated in a manner that sends the government back to the drawing board, and one such avenue is civil disobedience, which Outa drove. Fortunately, the general motoring public stood strong and collapsed the system,” he added.

Also, the e-toll debacle has been a harsh lesson for the government.

“Public participation must be meaningful and thorough and should demonstrate that public input has been taken seriously if new policies and laws are to be respected.

“The scheme had all the signs of failure long before it was launched in December 2013, yet the government proceeded without listening to its citizens. Despite evidence-based research from OUTA pointing to the scheme’s looming failures, the government persisted for years, wasting billions of rands in taxpayers’ money on this expensive and grossly ineffective collection scheme,” the CEO said.

e-tolls Outa
People protesting against e-tolls in Johannesburg. Image: Flickr/Siyabonga Africa.


In addition, Outa reiterated that it was not opposed to the user-pays principle, or the use of electronic tolling technology that Sanral attempted to use.

The organisation said its biggest concerns related to the lack of transparency, a meaningless public consultation process, and a cumbersome and largely unworkable administrative process, which made the scheme unenforceable and dead in the water before it got out of the starting blocks.

“This victory should send a significant message to the government that they should never ignore the people’s voice and power.

“Today, we thank thousands of motorists for standing their ground alongside Outa, who remained steadfast. This battle was not easy, with the onslaught of government propaganda, expensive court challenges, excessive bullying, and coercive campaigns,” Duvenage concluded.