South Africans are still in limbo as they continue to wait for an announcement about the future of e-tolls after Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana failed to mention it in his budget speech.
This after Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said in November that Godogwana would make an announcement about the future of e-tolls in his budget speech.
However, Layton Beard’s Automobile Association (AA) in SA said they were also waiting for some development on whether or not to officially scrap e-tolls, which will hopefully be announced sometime in the week.
The Organization That Undoes Tax Abuse (from) told The The Vanir-exodus that they also expected the matter to be finalized, and the government would have to accept that the e-toll project was unsuccessful as the compliance rate is currently 15%.
Outa also said the government was not getting the money they expected from motorists because motorists saw the scheme as illegal.
Outa’s Executive Director of the Accountability Division, Stefanie Fick, said only 15% of motorists paid electronic tolls, so there was no financial Armageddon.
“I know that Minister Mbalula has said that the roads in this country are in bad condition [dire] due to the fact that people in Gauteng do not pay electronic tolls and that is absolute nonsense,” she said.
Meanwhile, the AA welcomed Godongwana’s announcement that fuel taxes will not be increased and that there will be a “review of all aspects of the fuel price”.
“This is a milestone for all consumers – not just motorists – and while fuel prices may still increase, the added burden of higher taxes is now out of the way,” the AA said.
“We are of course very happy that our calls have been heeded.”
In his inaugural budget speech on Wednesday, the finance minister said he will review the fuel price structure with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.
“The aim is to have a price of gasoline that is competitive with this economy. So our teams will make an announcement in due course,” he said.
Godongwana said that by 2021, domestic gasoline prices exceeded R20 per liter, and the higher prices have put pressure on the cost of transportation, food and other goods and services. In order to provide some relief to households, the general fuel tax on petrol and diesel will not be increased for 2022-23.
“Households are still under financial pressure, dealing with increased liabilities, the effects of Covid and increased fuel prices. Now is not the time to raise taxes and jeopardize the recovery,” Godongwana said.
“That’s why we decided to keep money in the pockets of South Africans.”
However, the National Liquor Traders Association was not happy with the budget speech after alcohol prices rose. It condemned the hikes, which were between 4.5% and 6.5% on excise taxes, and said the rates were above inflation.
The association said again that liquor dealers were left to their own devices and “devise means of survival against the onslaught of the illegal market that will celebrate the aforementioned inflation-tax hike that will undoubtedly strengthen their criminal network”.
“The biggest winners of the budget speech are the illegal market and again, legal liquor dealers will bear the brunt of the government’s ignorance of this important sector,” said association president Lucky Ntimane.