AA slams e-tolls 'private army' bid
THE Automobile Association has strongly objected to plans by the South African National Roads Agency to establish a dedicated traffic police unit, saying it could be construed as setting up a private army for the sole purpose of toll enforcement.
The AA, known for its strong anti-tolls stance, has criticised Sanral's draft regulations, which seek to introduce amendments to the current regulations to enforce the controversial e-tolling system on Gauteng's freeways.
"The AA remains publicly opposed to e-tolling.
"In placing the AA's comments to the draft regulations on record, we are objecting on a number of issues," said Gary Ronald, the head of public affairs at the AA.
The AA has been critical of e-tolling and has made it known to both Sanral and the government that the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) should be halted.
The Gauteng toll project was initially scheduled to be enforced in June last year but was put on hold as a result of increased public objections, and will now be introduced on April 30.
Earlier this year, Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele ordered Sanral to put on hold all projects related to toll roads, amid growing public dissatisfaction over the proposed fees, which, at the time varied from 40c/km for light motor vehicles, R1/km for medium-sized vehicles and R2/km for longer, heavy-duty trucks.
Ronald also objected to the period for public comment. "The normally acceptable notice period for public comment on SA legislation is 30 days, whereas comment on these proposed regulations has been limited to just 20 days, including the Easter public holidays and school break," he said.
The AA suggested a review and extension of the project to broaden public participation.
"This disregard of process and on-going bullying attitude to force compliance is a hallmark of the limited consultative process government has followed from the outset with respect to the GFIP and, more specifically, the urban tolling issue," said the AA.