According to SA Savings Institute (Sasi) CEO Elizabeth Lwanga-Nanziri, money used for paying your e-tolls bills should be treated as that used for an emergency or as another increase in food prices.
“Many times things befall us and they come with costs. The costs are usually unbearable and intolerable,” she said yesterday at the sidelines of a Sasi briefing on festive savings.
“As long as that remains the reality you need to budget for it.”
As indicated by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, e-tolling is set to roll out at the end of the year and motorists need to make sure that they are financially prepared, she added.
“Come next year, we do not know what uncertainties will befall us, so the least you can do for yourself is to budget for it.
“Get e-tagged for discounts instead of piling up your bills,” said Sasi chairman Prem Govender.
“If this is to happen and if there is a way of having a cheaper fee paid by buying your e-tags, then yes, I would encourage people to. It doesn’t pay to have to pay more than you should.”
Govender said people were not opposed to paying e-tolls, but were furious at the way e-tolls had come about and that money would benefit foreign companies.
Kapsch TrafficCom is an Austrian company and the manufacturer of e-toll systems. The company said in June that it would rake in more than €50 million, or R669 million, from e-tolling.
The SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) at the time reacted by indicating e-toll revenue would not go offshore.
“The facts are that Sanral awarded the tender to the Electronic Toll Collection Joint Venture (ETC), who offered a competitive tender which was more than R2 billion lower than the next offer,” said spokesman Vusi Mona.
The shareholders of joint venture ETC, a South African company, are KapschTraffiCom, a company incorporated in Sweden. ETC is the party contracted to design, build and operate the system, he added.
According to Lwanga-Nanziri e-tolls was law and being defiant towards it has punishable repercussions and that needed to be taken into account.
“When you are defiant you are actually increasing bills for yourself. We say to consumers that things get worse before they get better.”
There are around four million registered vehicles in Gauteng. Some 660 000 e-tags have been sold thus far, according to the SA National Roads Agency Ltd.
Getting e-tagged is a contested issue among those opposed to the e-tolls.
It is not law to purchase and e-tag, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has said, and the Congress of SA Trade Unions have asked the public not to purchase e-tags.
The Freedom Front Plus will apply to the North Gauteng High Court on Monday to launch a challenge against the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill, which it wants declared as unconstitutional.
Public comments on e-tolls ta-riffs close tomorrow.