Cabinet agrees to Gauteng e-tolls roll-out

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pretoria - Cabinet has agreed that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) should proceed with the implementation of the Gauteng e-tolling system, Transport Minister Ben Martins announced on Friday.

Today, the Department of Transport gazetted the toll tariffs and regulations for public comment that will apply to users of the toll road network in Gauteng.

"Following a recommendation of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday decided that Sanral should proceed with the implementation of the e-tolling system," said Martins.

He said the gazetting of the toll tariffs marks the beginning of a 30-day period for public comment. Government will, after the 30-day period - having considered the views of the public - publish the final tariffs.

The committee has been holding engagements with stakeholders such as Cosatu, religious leaders and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance on the GFIP.

Martins said government has proposed that toll fees for e-tag users be capped at R550 a month for light vehicles, adding that monthly toll caps for e-tag registered heavy vehicle users have also been introduced.

The proposed standard toll tariff is 58c/km for light vehicles (class A2), while the e-tag tariff is 30c/km for the same class vehicle.

Class A1 (motor cycles) will pay 18c/km under the e-tag tariff; while the Class B (med heavy) e-tag tariff is 75c/km and Class C (heavy vehicles) e-tag tariff is R1.50/km.

"We believe as government that the consultation processes we have followed and the toll tariffs and regulations that were gazetted for comment set the scene for compliance.

"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," he said.

Martins said they have noted with appreciation the speed with which thousands of road users acquired e-tags several months ago before the Gauteng North High Court judgement, which has since been set aside by the Constitutional Court.

In September, the Constitutional Court opened the way for the GFIP system to be implemented when it set aside a Pretoria High Court ruling made in April that prevented the system from going ahead, pending a judicial review in November.

"The spirit of this early compliance is a spirit we would like to encourage. It is our conviction that the GFIP is an important contributor to keeping South Africa's economic hub moving," he said.

The country's first multi-lane free-flow toll system using Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) is billed to give road users a smoother and safer journey.

Minister Martins said the proposal advocated by some stakeholders of the use of fuel levy would ultimately have a direct impact on the cost of transportation of goods and services throughout the country and lead to inflationary pressures.

"An increase in the fuel levy means that every car owner in the country would pay even if they don't travel on these roads.
"In South Africa, taxes generated through the fuel levy are not sufficient to address infrastructure requirements."

The minister said registering for an e-tag will provide users with the lowest possible toll fees.

The Transport Department Director-General, George Mahlalela, said a workshop will be arranged for public participation, where participants will be taken through the regulations and notices during the 30-day consultation period.

"The workshop will award members of the public an opportunity to be clarified on this gazetted notice and regulations even as they submit written comments. The details of the workshop will be published in due course," he said.

The closing date for submission of all comments is November 26. -