Pretoria: The South Africa National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) has established through independent research that e-tolls will have a minimal effect on the price of food, goods and services.
An economic analysis done by the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business has revealed that the impact of e-tolls on the price of food and goods will be between 0.12% and 0.77%.
“There is a general assumption that e-tolls, when they are implemented, will lead to more expensive food, hitting the poor in particular. But that view is not based on any shred of evidence or any research. It is a mischievous argument intended to mislead the public,” Vusi Mona, the General Manager of Communications at SANRAL, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The UCT study makes the observation that the immediate discernible benefits and obvious savings from e-tolling would be for fuel, time and possibly accident costs.
SANRAL explained that the study looked at two issues relating to society’s ability to carry the cost of a major project such as the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), namely; comparing the share of total revenue to the size of the Gauteng economy, as well as comparing the share of tolling relative to people’s disposable income.
The study reads: “Taking a wider view and to put the matter into perspective, the toll revenue from the GFIP would have been the equivalent of 0.34% of the expected Gauteng GDP in 2011 and for light vehicles 43c for each R100 of disposable income.”
Mona said it was unfortunate that misleading statements continue to be made by public figures, organisations and analysts about the consequences of e-tolling without any backing of research or evidence.
“Rather, statements are simply made on the basis of commentators disliking e-tolling in principle, as a government policy,” he added.
He said the roads agency has rolled out a communications campaign to dispel several myths around e-tolling.