Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says that the government has not given any indications that it would hike fuel levies to pay off e-tolls, staying concerns raised by civil action groups and other stakeholders this week.
On Tuesday (16 August), Outa said it was worried that the minister of finance Enoch Gondongwana would use the lower petrol price expected for September as an excuse to raise the fuel levy to pay for things such as e-toll.
Wayne Duvenage, the chief executive of Outa, said that the group was concerned the fuel levy could be raised by 25 cents to 30 cents per litre to make up for what e-tolls have failed to pay for.
Duvenage added that Mbalula had indicated earlier this year that an announcement on the future of the e-toll decision is expected to coincide with the finance minister’s medium-term budget policy statement in October.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mbalula noted the speculation but dismissed it as rumour-mongering. He said that the government had not made any pronouncements on a possible rise in the fuel levy to cover the Gauteng freeway improvement bonds.
“I have engaged with the AA and Outa to discuss matters of mutual interest, and I remain committed to constructive dialogue that assists in resolving challenges,” he said.
“There is no reason to be alarmist on possible pronouncements on the government’s decision on the funding of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. I urge everyone to await the formal pronouncements and not engage in speculation that offers no solution to our challenges.”