Scrapping e-tolls could cost thousands of job opportunities, according to ETC (a management company). This news comes in response to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula hinting at scrapping the system in the future.
Coenie Vermaak, ETC CEO, says that as many as 38 000 'potential indirect' jobs could be lost should the system be scrapped.
These jobs were meant to be created during the second and third phases of the Gauteng freeway improvement project, reports Alberton Record.
Vermaak commented on the loss of direct employment as well, saying that ending the infamous toll system would result in the loss of 1 200 direct jobs at his company, as well as 1 000 indirect jobs from their suppliers.
The CEO is urging the Transport Minister to consider the implications of doing away with e-tolls and the impact it would have on new road infrastructure in the region:
“There is no doubt the system’s compliance levels remain low due to the continued public outcry against how it was implemented. But there are many more serious consequences that will negatively impact everyone if Minister Mbalula heeds the irresponsible call to scrap the system.”
Vermaak claims that the fuel levy would fail to serve as a viable alternative, confirmed by numerous forums hosted by ETC in the past:
“For the past year we have invested in these forums to understand and unpack expert opinions and views on road funding in South Africa."
These sessions, says Vermaak, made it clear that when it came to financing roads, the user-pays system is the best solution.
The CEO claims that the fuel levy was not earmarked for roads, and with it going towards the normal budget process, this means that funds were not solely used for infrastructure development and maintenance.
Added to this, a fuel levy would weigh heavily on poorer communities with 'less efficient vehicles'. Vermaak says that the user-pays method was completely aligned with the government's objective of supporting public transport.
The CEO warns that failing to embrace technology and 'solutionist thinking' could result in the status quo of e-tolling remaining, with the debt burden continuing to increase.
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