http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/duvenage-to-leave-avis-but-aims-to-see-e-tolling-case-to-the-end-2012-06-18

Duvenage to leave Avis but aims to see e-tolling case to the end

Published 18 Jun 12        By: Natasha Odendaal
After five years at the helm, Wayne Duvenage on Monday announced his resignation as CEO of Avis Rent a Car to explore new opportunities, but said he would continue to work on the legal case opposing the introduction of e-tolling on Gauteng’s upgraded highways.

Duvenage is heading up the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) and said he would aim to “see the case to the end”.

The proposed e-tolling of Gauteng’s upgraded highways was halted earlier this year, when Outa sought and gained an interdict from the North Gauteng High Court.

Following the ruling, the government approached the Constitutional Court, arguing that the decision to stop e-tolling would negatively impact on the economy.

The case, which, according to the Outa website, would, by September, have cost the organisation about R10.5-million, was expected to be heard by the Constitutional Court in August.

“We are at an important stage in our case to halt e-tolling,” Duvenage said, adding that there had been a lot of “consultative” positioning on government's behalf.

Last week, the government met with Business Unity South Africa, effectively kicking off the first of many engagements with the private sector to assess the solutions offered as an alternative to the e-tolling system on the upgraded Gauteng highways.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said that while various funding models were examined, the requirements remained the same – South Africa needed to decongest its roads, as well as improve its alternative routes and develop a reliable public transport system.

He re-emphasised that the user-pay system was the "most equitable way" of funding the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

Outa is scheduled to meet with the government on Thursday.

“The reality is that nothing has changed, figures being bandied about are changing all the time and their ‘user-pays’ principle being espoused is very flawed,” said Duvenage.

He previously commented that the government still failed to adequately define the proposed user-pay system for the GFIP and disclose details regarding its application.

Outa maintained that e-tolling was a “most irrational decision and must be stopped”.

Duvenage stated that, while the e-tolling matter was not a factor in his decision to resign, his immediate future would entail a continued and heightened focus on the case.

“Because the e-tolling case is not a full-time occupation of my time, I will be able to remain committed to this matter whilst also working on new business opportunities,” he explained.

He would leave Avis on July 31.