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TOLL ROADS: Halting Of Toll Road Processes Until February 2012 a Victory


Recent Gauteng Business News

Civil rights organisation AfriForum has welcomed Transport Minister Sibusiso NdebeleÂ’s announcement that the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has been ordered to halt all toll road project processes relating to the tolling of national roads, hailing it as a victory for civil rights.

AfriForum is, among other things, strongly opposed to the tariff structure for Gauteng toll roads that was approved by Cabinet recently. The organisation earlier stated that the proposed tariff structure would reduce ordinary motorists to the milk cows of the new tolling system.

Toll Road Discrimation Sees Possible Legal Action

According to Alana Bailey, Deputy Head of AfriForum, AfriForum has requested its legal team to look into the possibility of taking legal action regarding the unfair manner in which ordinary motorists are discriminated against in the new tariff structure for the Gauteng toll roads. AfriForum is also concerned that the processes followed to secure the publicÂ’s input in the toll projects were insufficient.

“AfriForum maintains that it is outrageous that, according to the latest Cabinet process, ordinary motorists have to carry the heaviest burden of financing the toll roads. Taxis and buses were given exemption from toll tariffs and the reduction of the tariffs proposed initially is proportionally bigger for heavy vehicles than for ordinary vehicles,” she said. Moreover, ordinary, salaried motorists, unlike transport companies and taxis, cannot deduct toll expenses from their taxable income.

Toll Road Taxes Not Sustainable

According to Bailey, AfriForum hopes the new process of public participation that was announced will pave the way for eliminating the discriminatory inequalities. “It’s time the government realised that burdening the public with more taxes is not sustainable. More measures for collecting tax create problems instead of solving them, as people and businesses can’t cope with the added financial pressure, or people become discouraged and emigrate. AfriForum is eager to collaborate with the Department of Transport in coming up with solutions that will eliminate the need for tollage. If solutions cannot be found, AfriForum is prepared to take legal action to oppose unfair processes on the toll road.”

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