Due to a backlog of over R197-billion, the National Department of Transport has released a ‘road drafts policy’ to address this budget shortfall to improve the management of all South Africa’s roads.
On February 22, former Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi introduced the Roads Policy. This is the first of its kind in South Africa despite the fact that transport and roads strategies were developed in 1994.
Due to the conditions of South Africa’s roads rapidly deteriorating, there is a need for a new revenue stream on top of existing charges to upgrade conditions and inefficiencies of the country’s roads. The policy suggests increasing vehicle license fees, the fuel levy, as well as toll fees to help plug the budget shortfall.
While it is still at a proposal stage, it also supports government in the implementation of the user-pay principal. This includes tolling, congestion charges, cross border levies and weight over distance charging. Private investor funding will also be considered as a source of funding.
According to Stephen Krygsman, a professor of Logistics and Transport Economics at the University of Stellenbosch, congestion tax is a certainty. This is due to the increasing traffic volumes found in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Krygsman is also of the opinion that national road agencies investing money into rural roads instead of urban roads has also played a role in the congestion of roads. The added dysfunctional public transport system also contributes to traffic volumes.
Krygsman also states that public transport is not viable for car owners, because public transport is too unreliable. Those who come from lower income homes live on the periphery, while those who are richer live even farther away because of spatial and apartheid-planning policies. This encourages long-distance travel in private cars which, in turn, creates more congestion.
To view the full Draft Roads Policy, click here Draft Roads Policy 2018