E-tolls keep on sinking despite Cyril Ramaphosa’s lifeline

Adv Anton Alberts

The lifeline of R700 million that deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa had handed e-tolls in June of this year has hardly had any effect before the e-toll ship started sinking again, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on Transport said.

Statistics on e-toll finances and operational business which the FF Plus obtained in response to parliamentary questions of Adv. Alberts indicates that deputy president Ramaphosa’s concessions, such as a 60% discount on accounts in arrears, only showed a slight flare-up and increase in revenue for three months.

Last month (September) income declined sharply again and an operational loss of R6 million for the month was registered. This aligns with the levels of nearly the whole year when operational losses amounted to nearly R20 million some months.

The project’s total debt amounts to more than R20 billion at present and now not enough money is being made through e-tolls to cover its current expenses every month, Adv. Alberts says. These losses alone amounts to nearly R35 million this year.

He said this system which the government has forced on South Africans is busy taking on disastrous proportions and viewed in context of the current demands of more affordable higher education, it is clear how high the price is that South Africans are paying for e-tolls.

“Where R20 billion will be coming from an empty public treasury to pay for yet another ANC debacle is a mystery. And in the meantime the debt is growing everyday.

“E-tolls had no legitimacy from the start and the FF Plus consistently opposed it in every possible way. It should be scrapped immediately to restrict the damage to the existing position.

“If the ANC continues to throw money into this bottomless pit it can expect to once again be on the receiving end of a reaction of a population whose loathing of an inept government is growing day by day, as was the case with the student uprising,” Adv. Alberts says.

A graphic projection which is part of the minister’s latest reply and which shows real income and projected income differs sharply with that of a previous version which was provided to the FF Plus in May of this year.

Various ‘adjustments’ were made from October 2014 and it is a clear attempt to create the impression that projections are reasonably accurate and had even been relatively conservative. In contrast with this, the same graphs of May shows that projections are astonishingly inaccurately and over-optimistic.

One such example is March of this year where the projections had been R175 million more than the real income figures. (Approximately R66 million real income as opposed to a projected income of R240 million.) On the adjusted statistics, the projected income was not even R40 million, resulting in an adjustment of nearly R200 million!

Adv. Alberts says it is a clear attempt to cover up with how much ignorance and dishonesty the project was undertaken and how extravagantly optimistic the projections had initially been to justify e-tolls.

“This serves as damning evidence of huge dishonesty regarding the e-tolls system and how the public had purposefully been misled,” Adv. Alberts said.


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