E-tolls crippling small businesses – DA

Gauteng’s e-tolls are killing jobs and businesses in the province, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.

“The results so far reveal the e-tolls bill, for a sample of 50 small businesses, amounting to R850 000 so far this year,” MP Toby Chance said in a statement. “The highest cumulative bill incurred by a single enterprise was a staggering R101 761.83.” That was over R10 000 a month, he said.

The DA was announcing the initial findings of its survey on the e-tolls impact on small businesses.

Chance said some businesses had chosen to transfer the cost to their clients, while others had to retrench workers or scale down their business models.

Loss of clients
“The effect is simple and straightforward – the growth prospects for business and their ability to create jobs is severely hampered,” he said.

Chance gave examples of individual accounts by some businesses.

A family-run transport company, which had been operating for more than 50 years, said e-tolls were costing the company an extra R5 000 a month. This led to a loss of clients in Pretoria because they could not afford the transport services.

A small electronics business with three service vehicles had a R32 000 e-toll bill which had not yet been paid. The owner told the DA he would have to scale down which inevitably meant employees would be retrenched.

Larger impact
“While these results are a small sample, covering 50 small businesses in Gauteng, one can only imagine the impact e-tolls is having on the thousands of other businesses and companies throughout the province,” Chance said.

“Now is the time for people to stand up in support of growth and jobs, and against e-tolling.”

Small and medium enterprises contributed 57% of the gross domestic product and accounted for 56% of employment. Small, medium and micro enterprises were expected to create 90% of jobs required to meet the National Development Plan’ objective of 11-million jobs by 2030, he said.

“It is deeply ironic that the ANC government champions small business as the chief creator of jobs, but then implements a scheme which hinders the advancement and success of small businesses,” Chance said. “The reality is that tough times for business mean less jobs and higher prices for everybody.” – Sapa

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