Roads less travelled

Gauteng e-tolls may go live by year-end

Chairperson of the committee on e-tolling, deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe
Kgalema Motlanthe

Gauteng’s controversial  e-toll system is likely to go live before year-end, but subject to public comment on  the tariffs to be charged – comment that has to be in by November 25.

This follows a decision by the South African government’s cabinet last week that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) should proceed with the implementation of the electronic-tolling system on Gauteng’s upgraded highways.

The decision was announced by the Minister of Transport, Ben Martins following a recommendation by the government’s  inter-ministerial committee enquiry into the appropriateness of using e-tolling to partly pay for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme (GFIP).

The committee was led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

The draft toll tariffs and regulations of South Africa’s first multi-lane, free-flow toll system using electronic toll collection were gazetted on Friday, marking the beginning of a 30-day period for public comment, which will conclude with a final  judicial review on November 26.

As outlined in February this year, tariffs will remain at 30c/km for light vehicles and 18c/km for motorcycles that are fitted with e-tags.

But motorists will pay double that rate if they do not register. The base tariff for light vehicles remains 58c/km against an initial base rate of 66c/km.

Non-articulated trucks will have to pay 75c/km and articulated trucks R1.51/km.

Registered public transport operators and users will remain exempt from e-tolling.

GFIP project manager Alex van Niekerk told media that deliberations with representatives of the country’s disabled community were under way and were at an advanced stage.

Transport director-general George Mahlalela stated that the final tariffs would be published at least 14 days before the official implementation of the e-tolling systems.

According to Enginneering News, Martins acknowledged ongoing opposition to the scheme, but said that many of the stakeholders consulted since May had agreed that the user-pay principle was the best route to follow.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) were not among those offering support for the principle, however.

 “We believe these to be fair and reasonable terms and tariffs that offer convenience, safety and value for money for those using the improved freeways in Gauteng,” Martins said.

 

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