Gauteng e-tolling goes live in 2 months

Motorists urged to get tagged

Sanral urges motorists to register for e-tags.
Gauteng motorists urged to get their e-tags

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has urged motorists to register for e-tags so that they can qualify for discounts and avoid a last-minute rush.

This follows last week’s announcement that the agency will go live with e-tolling in Gauteng during the next two months after completion of a parliamentary process, half of which is already done.

“As soon as the National Council of Provinces finalises the Transport and Related Matters Amendment Bill, the Bill will go back to the National Assembly for adoption,” Sanral’s head of communications, Vusi Mona, said.

"Minister of Transport, Ben Martins, will then announce the tariffs which will be followed by the necessary notice periods. That whole process will take about two months to complete. Thereafter e-tolling will start,” Mona said.

 According to Sanral, there have been 600 000 e-tag registrations so far.

Referring to the ongoing litigation around the project, Mona said: “Some motorists may be erroneously waiting for the appeal application by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) before they consider registering.

But that appeal has nothing to do with whether e-tolling should go ahead or not. That question was settled by the Constitutional Court last year when it set aside the interdict that prevented Sanral from implementing e-tolling,” he said.

 On Friday, he said that about 90% of motorists travelling on Gauteng roads will pay less than R200 a month on e-tolling.

"We know this because we have tracked actual usage by 2.5 million vehicles on the Gauteng [roads on which e-tolls will be collected]."

 Less than 1% of road users will pay the maximum of R550 per month. But motorists would need to have an e-tag for this.

The bill legalises e-tolling of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and was approved in the National Assembly.

The lower charges were as a result of the increase of the debt repayment period, and the R5.7 billion contribution by the National Treasury.

"Tariffs have been substantially reduced. For example, the initial proposal for light motor vehicles, equipped with an e-tag, was 50c/km but is now only 30c/km – a 40% reduction," Mona said.

"Trucks and heavy vehicles will pay only R1.50/km, instead of the initially-proposed R2.97."

E-tagged motorcyclists will pay 18c/km. Earlier, AfriForum said its staff would not register for e-tags and urged Gauteng residents to do the same.

"Personnel and representatives of the organisation will not register for the proposed e-toll system, and the civil rights organisation encourages the public to do the same," AfriForum deputy chief executive officer, Ernst Roets, said in a statement.

Sanral would be forced to rethink the cost-effectiveness of the e-toll system if enough motorists refused to register for it, he said.

In April last year, the High Court in Pretoria granted Outa an interdict approving a full judicial review before electronic tolling could be put into effect.

The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of a review. Sanral and the National Treasury appealed the court order. In September, the Constitutional Court set aside the interim order.

In December the High Court in Pretoria dismissed Outa's application to scrap e-tolling. On January 25, the court granted Outa leave to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein. The SCA hearing will take place in September.

Meanwhile, Sanral has dismissed as grossly misleading allegations that it will implement the same Open Road Tolling system in Cape Town as it has in Gauteng.

“Firstly, whereas in Gauteng we went out to borrow money in order to build the road, with Cape Town we will be appointing a concessionaire on a Build, Operate and Transfer basis.

This means the concessionaire will finance and maintain the road, returning it to the state in a specified condition at the end of the concession period.

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