Press release TWO –  issued 14-03-2012


SAVRALA (Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) representing approximately 450,000 vehicles continues to be very surprised by the ongoing e-Toll benefit motivations presented by SANRAL, its principal, the Department of Transport and more recently Transport Economist Dr Roelof Botha.

These parties often refer to a Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) 8.4 benefit cost ratio. Simply put, this hypothesis claims that for every R1 spent on the tolls, motorist will receive  a benefit of R8.40. This claimed benefit is sourced from the Economic Analysis of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Scheme prepared in August 2010 by the Graduate School of Business (University of Cape Town) for both the South African National Roads Agency (Pty) Ltd and the Provincial Government of Gauteng. This claimed benefit cost ratio was also presented in last year’s GFIP Steering Committee Report.

As this claimed benefit is one of the key motivations for the e-Tolling project, SAVRALA would encourage these parties to take note of the Minister of Transport’s reply, tabled on 31 October 2011, to a Democratic Alliance question on the claimed GFIP benefits raised at the National Assembly (Question no 2598);

“As can be seen, the key assumption of the 2007 feasibility study was that the GFIP Project would reduce congestion. In my considered view, and in retrospect, the original feasibility study did not sufficiently weigh up international evidence suggesting that freeway expansion often does not in the medium term resolve congestion challenges, and often induces greater demand.

It also failed to consider alternative solutions to congestion – improved public transport provision, moving more freight onto rail and a curb on urban sprawl. The project benefits to road users may, therefore, unfortunately not be forthcoming. This is the subject of further assessments and consultations by the Department of Transport and a Cabinet Task Team”.

The claimed GFIP benefits of time savings, reduced vehicle expenses and lower accidents are again based on questionable assumptions derived in many instances from information unchallenged by SANRAL itself. It is also important to note that the Economic Analysis of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Scheme did not request any input from any of the affected stakeholders like SAVRALA.


Surely it is time for a proper public and independent economic analysis to be conducted?

It is also essential to separate the actual construction of the roads from their funding model.  SAVRALA agrees with SANRAL on the need for the GFIP and that it will provide some benefit, but how much and at what cost is now a moving target. In reality, the viability and efficiency of the proposed e-Tolling model is now well beyond any economic argument.

After the Minister of Finance last month contributed almost R6billion from Treasury to fund SANRAL’s outstanding GFIP debt, the balance now due is approximately R14bn (excluding interest payments). Unfortunately, SANRAL have not made the actual impact of the contribution from the Minister of Finance to the total GFIP debt public. This means one has to determine the relative economic efficiencies of the e-Toll model at a rather crude level – however, the message is clear. Economically, it is irrational to continue with a revenue collection scheme that will very conservatively cost the GFIP users just over R6billion (although it has been estimate to be as much as R11billion), to collect the outstanding R14billion, resulting in an e-Toll administration cost to revenue ratio of 43%!

This is an unacceptable percentage for administration costs and contradicts the Minister of Finance’s earlier call this year for all parties to be wise with scarce resources.

SAVRALA, and many other business and civil associations, have never disputed the need to pay for the costs of GFIP, however, jointly they continue to oppose the unacceptable levels of cost for a wieldy administration imposed by the e-Tolling funding mechanism. SAVRALA therefore calls on the Government to seriously consider other less costly funding models like, the revenue raised from the Fuel Levy, as one of several other funding mechanisms.

Further, SAVRALA remains perplexed as to why the Government remains obstinate in the extreme about the drive to implement such an inefficient and costly system, given the extensive and growing resistance to e-Tolling across South African society, including some elements of Government itself.

It is also of great concern that our Government agencies and their various spokespersons are reverting to verbal bullying and threats against its citizens should they wish to exercise their rights and not register for an e-Tag but rather pay the non-discounted rate given the concerns about individual/account information protection etc.

What is needed, is greater transparency regarding the terms and conditions of the ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) tender document and the extent of the potential financial penalties, should the e-Toll project not proceed.



The current stance only corroborates Government’s stubbornness to proceed despite all logical and economic reasons to rethink the project.

It has however become painfully obvious, that this is the biggest public uprising against a decision taken by government since the birth of our new democracy 18 years ago.

Notes to editor:

1)      DA Question 2598, reply by Minister of Transport can be found at

2)      GFIP Economic Analysis available at


Press release issued 14-03-2012


Following anger and outrage against the e-Tolling of Gauteng’s freeways, an alliance has been formed to coordinate the strategies of a number of organisations and associations who share a common view about this unjust action.

Numerous organisations have been strongly opposing the e-toll program from various channels, yet a unified platform has been lacking to share and combine the efforts of business. The launch of OUTA (Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance) will be this platform and will provide a united front which will lend significant support to the cause.

The web site URL for the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) is  It is a concise informative portal and one that also allows organisations to sign up and display their support accordingly.  It will be dynamic and updated regularly.  In addition, individuals can also lend their support on the “support us” page as well as link through to the OUTA Facebook page to express their concerns, comments and views.

While there are a number of electronic petitions and web sites denouncing e-tolling in Gauteng (and these are all very necessary in their respective efforts), the OUTA platform is one that will provide clarity around the misleading and ambiguous statements and questions about e-tolling. The public and organisations have a desire and a right to know much more than that which has been ‘fed’ to them by the authorities.  The web site will also be the platform that provides updates of the legal challenge when this is lodged.

OUTA encourages organizations and the public view the site and sign up.


Press release issued 08-03-2012


SAVRALA, The Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, representing approximately 450,000 vehicles nationally, welcomed yesterday’s announcement by Logan Maistry (spokesperson for the Department of Transport) about a delay of the planned roll-out of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) on April 01.

SAVRALA hopes that the Department of Transport will now return to a process of constructive and participative engagement at the Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), to discuss many of the key concerns around AARTO which were left unanswered during the meetings last year.

Amongst the many issues raised, was the need for government to make public the results of the AARTO pilot study so that all stakeholders can become aware of the lessons learnt and will be able to contribute to any proposed regulation changes in the future. Some of the key lessons learnt from the e-Tolling process to date are that it is difficult for stakeholders to give productive input into a process when information is withheld by the Department of Transport.

As the central focus of AARTO is to change driver behavior, SAVRALA would like to see the current schedule of offences (over three thousand) get reduced to focus on the critical infringements that contribute to the current unacceptable level of death on our roads. SAVRALA believes a simplified schedule of key offences would assist both consistent enforcement by the authorities and provide better understanding to the public road user.

In addition, several of the key AARTO administrative processes could also be simplified to make the system more reliable, efficient and less expensive to implement, this however will require an open mind from the authorities when AARTO discussions once again commence with stakeholders.

SAVRALA is in the process of setting up workshops with all relevant stakeholders to identify ways of achieving safer roads and looks forward to the Department of Transport’s participation in this regard.


Press release issued 23-02-2012


Following the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s reference to reduced toll fees for the Gauteng’s Freeway Improvements (GFIP), the South African Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) is adamant that “this funding mechanism is inefficient, impractical and unacceptable” says Wayne Duvenage, vice president of SAVRALA.  “We salute the Minister for apportioning R5,8bn of our taxes toward the GFIP, but ask why stop at a quarter of the amount required, especially in light of the extra 20c added to the fuel levy?”

It is incorrect to assume that because the improved freeways will reduce congestion, save costs and improve safety, we must now accept the funding thereof to be conducted through a complicated, inefficient and extremely costly process.  The GFIP urban tolling plan has been ill-conceived and thrust upon the Gauteng road user with minimal consultation or consideration to its impact.  It’s not about the fee. Even at 10c per kilometre, it is the principal of tolling our urban daily routes to work and back that is wrong. The implementation of an efficient road infrastructure is one of the roles of Government, and they are tasked to do this in the most efficient manner possible for its citizens.

More frustrating is the double whammy of the additional 20c to fuel levy.  The current R1.77c fuel levy will increase to just under R2 per litre from April.  This will secure around R27bn per annum going forward.  Combine this with the existing long distance toll revenues, local licence fees and some input from the national treasury pot (yes, it’s not strange to expect some of our general taxes to contribute toward roads) and you have sufficient funding for our national road infrastructure upgrading and maintenance, if the money is spent wisely.

The fuel levy is the most efficient and equitable user-pay principle, which, when applied ensures that all road users contribute to all our roads in direct proportion of their usage.  Every time one fills a tank with fuel, they contribute approximately R140 toward the maintaining and building an efficient road system. To toll the GFIP suggests that all road upgrades in future should be tolled – unless SANRAL plans to be inconsistent with this principle.  Does one detect a quandary in the making?

Why on earth would Gauteng citizens want or need to pay an additional R1,6bn per annum to manage the collection of these funds when the fuel levy can be applied almost free of administration costs?  Gauteng citizens more than pay their way toward the total tax basket of the country’s economy and yet receive much less in return. To now burden this economic hub with a cumbersome, expensive and inefficient urban toll system is immoral and blatantly wrong.

It is also wrong to assume that because the gantries are built, there is no turning back.  To press on with tolling our urban roads will be throwing good money after bad. There is a far more viable alternative and SAVRALA, along with a number of other business associations will now seriously consider a joint legal challenge against this process.  Initial consultations have revealed significant transgressions of the law and the constitutional rights of the public in this regard.



Press release issued 20-01-2012


“The Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) representing 450,000 vehicles is astounded by the RTMC’s intention to implement AARTO nationally on Sunday, 1 April, given the extent of the outstanding issues. Without question, the current level of road carnage is unacceptable, but it would be naïve to think that AARTO, as last presented in early 2011, offers the solution to changing driver behaviour. SAVRALA has repeatedly indicated its full support for the successful implementation of AARTO and has shown its willingness to engage further in order to achieve the desired result: safer roads for all; and not for the purpose of providing an additional source of revenue for the metros and/or putting people out of jobs.


SAVRALA is a member of the Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) transport task team that attended several NEDLAC (National Economic Development & Labour Council) discussions on AARTO last year.  Government, represented by the Department of Transport, seems to have effectively dismissed both the NEDLAC process and its participants by choosing not to present the results of the AARTO Pilot Study and various other critically important documents, in order for NEDLAC members to consider AARTO and make a positive contribution.


SAVRALA expects that the public will have an opportunity to comment on any revised AARTO regulation in advance of the national implementation.  In the context of road and transport related matters, the continued lack of effective partnership between Government and society in likely to polarize further the current broad-based opposition to problematic legislation and un-implementable regulations.  The 1 April launch would be a missed opportunity to exploit the synergies between stakeholders and we urge government to consider effectively engaging further.


 Release date: 13-01-12


Southern Africa Vehicle Rental and Leasing Associations (SAVRALA) is encouraged by today’s announcement by the new South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) Board to apply its mind to the serious concerns raised by the great range of both local and national stakeholders who have opposed the current GFIP eTolling implementation plan which is now delayed. SAVRALA would welcome any opportunity to present its concerns to the new Board and have a constructive discussion about the funding of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP). SAVRALA looks forward to further updates on this development and in particular the applicable timelines.

At a special SAVRALA members meeting yesterday, it was agreed that the Association would continue to oppose the current GFIP eTolling implementation plan and, if necessary, take legal action. The members confirmed that they were not unwilling to pay for the GFIP (or other road) improvements but wanted a more cost efficient funding model which the national fuel levy presents.

Further SAVRALA believes that only a very small number of about 20,000 Gauteng public road users are included in the reported 213,000 etags registered with SANRAL to date. It believes that the very large majority of etags may be held by financial institutions and a few mid-sized corporates, however, SAVRALA awaits further detail from SANRAL in this regard. It is, however, obvious that the general public, despite the expensive SANRAL marketing campaign, have given a clear signal to SANRAL that it rejects its eToll plans.

SAVRALA also believes the current investments in etags, infrastructure, staff and vehicles need not go to waste. Should the new SANRAL Board recommend to the Minister of Transport that the national Fuel Levy be used for the immediate SANRAL funding requirements, the current GFIP Open Road Tolling (ORT) infrastructure and etags, for example, could be used to assist in several Gauteng pilot projects to help better manage the current traffic violation process and even the pre-payment of vehicle license discs. We should look to try and utilize the available technology in a more value adding and innovative manner.

SAVRALA hopes that the very contentious GFIP funding debate can be resolved quickly, without any legal action, so that the momentum and energy now mobilized by the broad range of interested parties on tolling can be refocused on tackling the unacceptable loss of life on our roads. We need to all work together to ensure that South Africa meets its Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 commitments and reduce the carnage on our roads.

Editorial contacts:

Paul Pauwen


Concerns that PRE cannot manage GFIP exemptions


Tourism concerned that PRE does not have the systems to manage exemptions from GFIP

Encouraged by the positive statements made by the MEC for Roads and Transport in Gauteng, Ismail Vadi, at the recent Gauteng Public Transport Regulatory Entity (PRE) launch, the Tourism industry remains concerned about PRE’s capacity to serve both their customer’s needs and SANRAL in Q1 2012.

The Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) representing approximately 450,000 vehicles, the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), the Coach Owners Association South Africa (COASA) and the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) were represented at the launch by the umbrella association Tourism Business Council South Africa (TBCSA). Several transport association spokespeople criticised the previous Gauteng Operating Licensing Board (GOLB) for long delays and arrogance when processing permit applications but the MEC assured guests that the new PRE board will seek partnerships with its stakeholders and operate with ‘efficiency; professionalism; integrity, and strict adherence to the regulatory regime’.

The concerns were raised in light of the fact that the TBCSA (Tourism Board Council of South Africa) have many members who operate transfer and chauffeur-drive services, which, like metered taxis, require both vehicle and driver permits. Although the TBCSA looks forward to a constructive and efficient engagement with the new entity, they remain concerned about how the PRE will cope with plans by the Department of Transport (DoT) to implement GFIP (Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project) open road tolling in February 2012.

Admitting that the current entity has an ‘outdated and obsolete IT system’ the MEC did not give any clarity on how the proposed toll exemption for commuter buses and mini-bus taxis will be managed by the PRE. This is important as the new entity will need to maintain, at least daily, the validity status of vehicle permits allocated to certain vehicle license plates for the SANRAL tolling system to ensure that expired or withdrawn permits do not continue to receive exemptions from the proposed GFIP toll fees. Failure to maintain a high level of integration is likely to see a real risk of increased cloned minibus taxi and commuter bus license plates if the exemption is to be applied only to a narrow group of permit holders.

It is also unclear at this stage how the toll exemption status of minibus taxis and commuter buses, with permits issued outside of Gauteng, travelling on GFIP, will be managed. Will these road users be exempt? These types of questions become real issues for inter-provincial minibus taxi and commuter bus operators and could likely require national integration with SANRAL by all PRE’s and remaining Operating Licensing Boards. Operators would, for example, need to understand whether their Mpumalanga issued permit will be cancelled due to non-payment of GFIP tolls.

The DoT, after changing all its ‘user pay’ model descriptions, is yet to issue any detailed directive in the Government Gazette to help the various metered taxis, transfer and chauffeur-drive services understand why they may not be exempted from tolls.

A further question mark remains around whether the growing number of scholar transport operators, who will require permits, will be exempt from GFIP tolls?

It seems ironic that one of the potential new priorities for the Gauteng PRE in early 2012 may well be to invest in systems and resources (at vast cost) to accommodate integration into the proposed SANRAL GFIP toll system, for the purposes of tracking and administering exemption from toll fees. PRE will therefore be investing in major IT infrastructure without earning any revenue for this obvious administrative minefield.

The TBCSA feels that this is once again an example of wasteful and thoughtless expenditure and a further reason why urgent discussions need to take place between the DoT and the broad transport industry regarding the use of the national fuel levy to fund GFIP and other infrastructure projects in a much more cost-effective and administratively streamlined manner. SANRAL has estimated GFIP administration costs to be over R5bn for the next five years. TBCSA feels that this estimate is very conservative and will be far exceeded when the cost of collection and enforcement as required by the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) is considered. This excludes the additional costs that will have to be passed on to Gauteng consumers. The billions to be spent on administration should rather be used for the construction and maintenance of highways around the country.

By utilising the existing fuel levy and increasing this by an acceptable margin to fund additional road expansion and upkeep would avoid all the above mention infrastructure costs and could save the country billions of Rands in additional expenditure.

Editorial contacts:
Paul Pauwen

Carefully read your e-tag T’s & C’s urges SAVRALA

As a national body representing almost 450 000 vehicles on South African roads, SAVRALA (The Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association), as well as the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), the Coach Owners Association South Africa (COASA) and the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) who all fall under the umbrella association of the Tourism Business Council South Africa (TBCSA), remain concerned and are unconvinced about the billing procedures of ORT (Open Road Tolling) and its implications despite the recent launch of SANRAL’s etag campaign.

While SAVRALA has as yet been unsuccessful in scheduling follow-up meetings with SANRAL (South African National Road Agency Limited) this month to review their many outstanding issues, SAVRALA are encouraging both individuals and companies to carefully consider the following before registering for an e-tag:

1)      The final schedule of toll tariff’s and discounts from both SANRAL and the Department of Transport have yet to be published in the Government Gazette despite various communications on the Cabinet’s tariff decisions.

2)      Despite ongoing requests for clarity and more detail, it remains unknown how SANRAL intends to prosecute road users who do not pay toll fees. It seems impractical and would most likely overburden the already strained judicial system if each individual who did not pay their fees, were to be prosecuted.

3)      Currently no documented processes or systems are in place to resolve incorrect toll transactions caused by false (cloned) vehicle license plates. This puts the responsibility and the added cost onto Individuals and companies to ensure they have the necessary resources available to reconcile their SANRAL toll bills against their own vehicle/fleet movements.

4)      The current e-tag Terms and Conditions available on the SANRAL website could be considered onerous and clearly place the responsibility of ensuring accounts have sufficient funds available on the registered e-tag user, as clause 22 requires a registered e-tag user to pay all fees and charges, irrespective of any dispute they may have over charges. This means the clause must be interpreted in the context of the risk of illegally cloned license plates as GFIP (Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan) road users (as per clause 5) will be liable for all toll transactions recorded according to the user’s VLN (Motor Vehicle License Plate Number) or its e-tag.

5)      No details have been made available yet to explain the criteria for exemption of commuter buses and mini-bus taxis. Depending on the definition of the criteria, many tourism related transport services may also be exempt. To date no explanation exists on how SANRAL will accurately maintain and enforce the validity of the various permits and routes etc.

The decision by SANRAL (who take their instructions from the Department of Transport) to launch their e-tag campaign now, whilst several further consultative processes are underway and which are largely led by the Department, only serves to cause further confusion amongst the general public.

SAVRALA looks forward to actively participating in the (yet to be confirmed) Road Funding Summit and will continue to propose that the burden of funding both the GFIP and other national road infrastructural priorities should come from an additional amount added to the national fuel levy as this is the most cost efficient and effective method to raise the required funds.

The need to build a viable and safe public transport infrastructure, as a real alternative to travelling on the roads, must also be considered. The Road Funding Summit should seriously consider how best to use the infrastructure already purchased, if other funding models like the fuel levy are to be implemented.

Editorial contacts:
Paul Pauwen

SAVRALA continues to say ‘No’ to GFIP tolling

Release date: 27-10-11

At the Southern African Rental and Leasing Association’s (SAVRALA) AGM held today in Johannesburg, its members, representing over 450,000 vehicles, agreed not to register their vehicles for e-tags until their tolling concerns have been addressed. The lack of clarity regarding the enforcement of tolling, the burden of additional administrative costs on Gauteng road users and the risk posed to road users by cloned registration plates are only some of the outstanding concerns which present yet undetermined consequences to both its members and all Gauteng road users.

SAVRALA welcomes the recent instruction by the Minister of Transport to ‘halt all processes related to the tolling of national roads’. The Minister’s view that the ‘consultative processes should be allowed to take place to offer concerned parties an opportunity to share their views on the toll road program’ is warmly supported and long overdue. The intent, however, to implement tolling in Gauteng, should also be halted.

In addition, the firm statement given this week by the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to his Government to ‘use the resources we have far more effectively’, strongly resonates with SAVRALA’s concerns about the planned implementation of urban tolling in Gauteng. The expected administrative costs, conservatively running into billions, could be replaced almost overnight by an additional fuel levy without any wasteful administrative costs. Funds raised by the fuel levy could be allocated to key national infrastructural projects, such as the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

SAVRALA remains ready at all times to engage with SANRAL and the Department of Transport to address the current road infrastructure funding challenges. The lack of an effective consultation structure between the various transport related stakeholders and Government remains an important opportunity to be fulfilled.

Given the dynamic and fluid nature of the current tolling national debate, SAVRALA’s members will again review their position on the implementation of planned urban tolling in Gauteng within the next month.

Editorial contacts:
Paul Pauwen

Government clearly depsperate to implement at any cost

SAVRALA has often applauded the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) upgrades and is not unwilling to pay its respective share, but is yet to be convinced that the current urban toll model is the most efficient and cost effective.

An independent transport regulator should have been in place at the beginning of this process to ensure that there is reasonable oversight and due administrative process.  In its absence, the fact that, in Gauteng we will be expected to pay R6,2bn to collect approximately R20bn, a collection cost of 30% over five years without any real transparency of the real costs involved is reason alone for grave concern.

Today’s announcement also does little to convince Gauteng road users that Government has displayed a genuine willingness to engage constructively and transparently with key stakeholders and the public at large. During the ORT Steering Committee process, established earlier this year to address the concerns of various broad based stakeholders, the Department of Transport held a press conference an hour before the final consultation meeting took place to announce their recommendations. One wonders what the point of the consultation was.  Last month we also noted the formal request, by Business Unity South Africa directly to the Minister of Transport and the SANRAL CEO, for access to key information, which to date remains outstanding.

The GFIP tolling debate created the perfect opportunity to discuss, as broad based social partners, various funding options to tackle the road infrastructure backlog in the context of developing a reliable, safe and cost effective public transport system.  The Governments desperate bid to steamroll the GFIP urban toll process has demonstrated an ability to decree a ‘user-pay’ methodology for all one day but, conveniently, when faced with threats of non-compliance from the taxi industry, decides to exempt ‘qualifying commuter taxis and buses’. Today’s announcement is notably thin on the rationale for the exclusion which in effect implies that potential toll users must, in addition to normal taxes and levies, now also subsidise public transport.

While Government may view today’s announcement as a further step towards the planned ORT implementation, we remain hopeful that there still remains opportunity for broad based stakeholders to engage with Government to identify a more holistic road maintenance strategy with a fresh but robust discussion on the use of the fuel levy funding mechanism leading to a better funding model with national support from all concerned and affected.