IN HIS maiden Mid-term Budget Policy address the minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has come out with guns blazing that the scrapping of e-tolls will not happen.
Mboweni went as far as citing ”there’s nothing for mahala” and cautioned motorists must pay up.
Motorists allegedly owe Sanral at least R10 billion in unpaid e-tolls and had to put some projects on ice to manage its debt, of which Mboweni said it was ‘uneconomical’.
“If we want a road transport infrastructure that works, we need to pay our tolls… Government remains committed.”
Mboweni says the user-pay principle is the most effective way to ensure that services are paid for by those who use them.
But this has caused confusion in that the Premier of Gauteng David Makhura early this year, pointed out e-tolls will be scrapped.
Makhura and the newly-elected ANC leadership in Gauteng resolved to push for the withdrawal of e-tolls in the country’s economic heartland as the party fears possible loss of electoral support in next year’s general elections.
Makhura had admitted that the unhappiness over e-tolls had contributed to the party’s loss of support and running of two metros – Johannesburg and Tshwane – during local government elections in 2016.
The Premier said the party would push for the removal of e-tolls as part of the resolutions of the congress.
“We have a plan to make sure that e-tolls are a thing of the past. We shall assess everything we do in relation to how it affects our people and their wellbeing,” Makhura was quoted.
On possible increase of tax, the minister indicated it wasn’t all bad news though; we don’t have to steel ourselves for any further tax hikes, at least for now.
This despite revenue collection in 2017/2018 coming in R800 million lower than estimated, Mboweni announced additional consumer goods which will be VAT exempt from next year.
These include sanitary pads.
However, the implementation of the zero-rate will cause a revenue loss of more than R1 billion.
But the burning question of e-tolls, elections and Makhura still remains.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa will lead the South African government in hosting the three-day South Africa Investment Conference 2018 which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, from Thursday, 25 October 2018.
The conference will take place under the theme, “Accelerating Growth by Building Partnerships”.
At least one thousand delegates, comprising of invited business leaders and civil society, are expected to attend the conference.
The conference is a key milestone in the country’s bold ambition to raise at least 100 billion US dollars in new domestic and intentional investment over the next five years.
Through the Conference, South Africa will market the compelling investment opportunities available in the country as part of government’s interventions geared at boosting economic growth and creating much-needed jobs.