Shivambu Tito Mboweni sovereign wealth fund

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Image via Twitter

Mid-term budget speech: E-tolls are here to stay

Finance minister Tito Mboweni has delivered his Mid-term budget speech to Parliament, and one particular decision is set to be a thorn in the side for many.

Shivambu Tito Mboweni sovereign wealth fund

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Image via Twitter

Bad news, Gauteng folks: E-tolls and the user-pay-principle are here to stay. That means road users with outstanding bills will not be getting out of settling their accounts.

The user-pay principle is here to stay

Mboweni said in his speech that several options were considered to “resolve the impasse”. He added the government has decided to retain the user-pay principle, and warned:

“While there will be a further dispensation and value‐added services, compliance will also be strengthened. […] Not paying your tolls has already led to our roads deteriorating. We have been unable to maintain the network. I urge the nation to please pay your bills.”

He compared paying e-tolls to buying bread from Pick ‘n Pay – a service that requires payment, and urged South Africans to “build a culture of payment.”

“Government services can only be sustainable if all of us that can pay for services, do so.”

Finance minister Tito Mboweni, during the Mid-term Budget Speech on Wednesday.

E-tolls and the cost of living

This follows after Gauteng premier David Makhura announced during his state of the province address in February 2019 that e-tolls would be scrapped.

At the time, Makhura said the e-toll system is unsustainable; and while the user-pay principle is not in question, “there is clear recognition that urban tolling increases the cost of living.”

Following Mboweni’s speech, Outa confirmed that their position on e-tolls “remains unchanged.”

“A failed system cannot be resurrected. Government needs a reality check on this. Until this expensive, irrational and unworkable system is cancelled, we remain resolute.”

Reaction on social media

According to Outa, the user-pay system isn’t efficient, and isn’t fair “when it comes to applying an additional tax to one city’s motorists and not others.”

On Twitter, Siyabulela Sekeleni said that he cannot believe “we’re still talking about e-tolls”. He tagged the ANC’s Twitter account, and added: “Go ahead, your funeral.”

Another added that it’s “nice in the ANC Camps, loot and pillage the public purse in Govt and hold citizens to ransom to pay ETolls and increase electricity tariffs.” Others were adamant that they will not pay:

“Dear Mr Mboweni. We will not pay for e-tolls, we never have and never will. You [are] better off using them for surveillance to catch drunk drivers or something. I’m sure you’ll figure something out. Kind Regards, Gautengers”

Watch the Mid-term budget speech live here.

Also read – Mid-term budget speech in 13 quotes: Here’s what has changed for SA