Toll fees - no surprises
Pretoria, 13 August 2014. The process to determine toll fees in the Western Cape will be the same as for the existing toll roads in the country - no sudden increases.
"The history of toll fee adjustments will support this assertion. The fees are set annually by the Minister of Transport, not SANRAL, and are in line with the consumer price index. This can hardly be called ‘ineffective price regulation' as the Cape Chamber of Commerce has been saying.
"Thus the three concessionaires who presently run stretches of the national route have certainty as far as their fee structure is concerned and can plan ahead. The same will apply to whichever company will be contracted to toll the N1 and N2 in and around the City of Cape Town" says Vusi Mona, communications manager of the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL).
He was responding to comments made by the Chamber President Janine Myburgh about who will set tariffs and concerns about their annual increases.
Mona explained that the contractor, once appointed, will have to build, upgrade, maintain and manage the toll roads. Thus the toll will continue to be paid once construction is completed.
"It is a fact that lack of maintenance has resulted in the deterioration of so many roads. This has not happened on any of the national routes controlled by SANRAL."
Mona said the agency was taken aback by the Chamber's position that it opposed any form of tolling. "For people who come from the private sector to oppose the user pays principle and take a position that essentially shuts out private sector participation in the country's infrastructure development is disappointing. But that's what happens when politics trumps even business sense," he said.
He challenged the Chamber to read the Constitutional Court judgment on the role of the Executive in determining the use of public resources and therefore the use of tolling.
Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, ruling on the Gauteng e-tolls case stated: "Thus, the duty of determining how public resources are to be drawn upon and re-ordered lies in the heartland of Executive Government function and domain. What is more, absent any proof of unlawfulness or fraud or corruption, the power and the prerogative to formulate and implement policy on how to finance public projects reside in the exclusive domain of the National Executive subject to budgetary appropriations by Parliament."
When those who are supposed to champion the rule of law show disrespect for rulings by the Constitutional Court, society is entering a dangerous terrain.
"SANRAL respects the rule of law, does the Chamber?", Mona asks.
Statement issued by SANRAL, August 13 2014
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