Pretoria - The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) has urged motorists to get e-tags to avoid paying a higher rate for using the provincial toll roads.
This comes after the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Wayne Duvenage of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) on Sunday issued a statement claiming that the new rate for the e-toll was introduced without engaging the public.
"By continually encouraging road users not to register, it is actually OUTA and its fellow travellers in the DA that are going to end up costing road users significantly more than they could have been paying.
"We must emphasise again that SANRAL is an agency of government that does not set policy. This is the role of national government. SANRAL urges road users to do what is necessary for them to pay the least amount possible in e-toll fees," said SANRAL in a statement on Monday.
The agency said the "alternate user" rate of R1.74 per kilometre was actually three times the standard toll tariff, contrary to some current claims, which put it at "almost six times" the discounted rate. The reason for the higher rate, SANRAL said, was the added costs associated with contacting the users by means of invoicing, debt collection and costs associated with recovering payment.
SANRAL said it was more convenient and cheaper administratively for motorists to have an e-tag, with benefits including various discounts that reduce the overall cost to the road user.
The Government Gazette published last Friday defined five kinds of e-road users, including:
* E-tag users who are registered with SANRAL;
* E-tag users who are not registered with SANRAL;
* VLN users who are registered with SANRAL;
* Alternate users and
* Day-pass users.
Alternate users are entitled to pay the standard tariff, if they pay within the grace period of seven days from the date and time that the liability to pay an e-toll transaction arises.
Users who do not register, or do not have valid and operational e-tags and do not pay within seven days will ultimately pay a significantly higher tariff.
"These are world-class roads. Our financial considerations are based on users receiving all the discounts to which they are entitled," said SANRAL.
Motorists were also encouraged to establish for themselves what their e-toll fees would be based on their driving patterns.
"It is a simple matter for road users to establish the truth about how much they will actually be paying in e-toll fees. You can do this by using the toll-fee calculator on the SANRAL website, by speaking to staff at one of the SANRAL retail outlets or by calling the SANRAL contact centre at 0800 726 725."