The Road Fund Administration has been asked to amend its current payment requirements to allow instalments from motorists who are unable to pay annual registration fees at once.
Swapo member of parliament Modestus Amutse said this in a motion that he moved in parliament last week. He asserted that Covid-19 has reduced the ability of individuals and businesses to raise sufficient income to meet statutory and other possible civic obligations, which demand a shift in thinking and assisting the public.
“The global economic downturn, influenced by various meanings, has taught us to negate our thoughts to an approach that can give a more meaningful impetus to the livelihoods of our communities. The issue here is that we have a rigid annual licence fee payment framework at NaTIS, which does not support efforts to mitigate the impact of the reality of the economic downturn being experienced by our people”, said Amutse.
In terms of Section 18 (1)(a) of the Road Fund Administration Act 18 of 1999, a charge is levied on vehicles in respect of the travelling distance in the course of on-road use, and which may be based on the mass, length, width or height of the vehicle or its loading, or the number of axles of such vehicle, or any combination of such factors.
When a roadworthy permit expires annually, a renewal balance becomes payable. Failing to pay results in penalties accumulating on the debit balance. There are persons, be it companies or individuals, who, because of various factors, have a reduced capacity to raise sufficient funds at once to meet that obligation. These are the people who Amutse says he is concerned about.
“When these persons ask the RFA for leave to be granted to deposit on their balance what they have at that particular time to reduce the balance and penalties that usually accrue based on the debit balance, they are told to go back with their money and only come back when they have the full balance,” narrated Amutse.
He added that by the time these motorists manage to raise the initial balance, the difference has accumulated due to penalties. This has resulted in hundreds of vehicles being either parked or driven without valid permits. The adverse is that the current framework is by design diminishing the prospects for the effective collection of revenues through that sector.
“In my view, the non-acceptance of an arrangement for partial payments to avert the accumulation of debts and consequent penalties lacks the balance of humanity in the African context inasfar as the ubuntu philosophy is concerned. On rational principles, an inference can be drawn that the aspect of social and administrative justice is compromised by such a framework,” he stressed.
He furthermore contested that if a person wants to deposit some funds at the expiry of the roadworthy permit to avert the accumulation of debts because of the inability to raise sufficient funds at once, then this is a positive arrangement, and should be allowed from now onwards.
He added that making arrangements to pay is one of the fundamental principles of a good corporate relationship between a client and a service provider. When contacted to elaborate, Amutse said the discussions on this motion may expand to include payment arrangements for accumulated debts in traffic fines, as this is the only practical way to assist especially taxi drivers to be able to account for their accumulated fines, and to continue being in business for survival.
“We inherited unjust systems that do not ascribe to the African principles of humanity. We should shape our thoughts to speak to who we are as Africans in context. Sometimes, we sit at the bottom of inside the box, but still believe that we are doing things outside the box” the politician said.