Delay in implementation of tolls is unhelpful: Treasury

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pretoria - The delay in the implementation of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), was "unhelpful", Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Friday.

Last month the North Gauteng High Court granted an urgent interdict against e-tolling, placing the project on hold until a full review can take place. The system would have kicked off on 30 April.

"It is clearly unhelpful, if we are to make progress in these challenges, that an important source of revenue for the road system has been delayed," he said.

Yesterday, Cabinet announced that it had taken a decision to appeal the interim order to stop e-tolling.

Presenting the National Treasury's Budget Vote before Parliament, Gordhan said the project had effected improvements to Gauteng's freeways, bringing about substantial improvements in the flow of traffic and benefits to road-users.

"This investment has been made not out of general revenue, but through debt which has to be repaid. Cabinet has reiterated its commitment to the e-toll system as an efficient and appropriate mechanism of partial cost recovery from road-users," he said.

Government was also mindful that improvements were needed on alternative roads in the province, said Gordhan.

Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi has announced that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will brief media next week regarding the work of the Committee of Ministers.

The committee, chaired by Motlanthe, was set up to look at all aspects of the e-tolls, including the court decision, the implication of that decision, the implication on SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and the ability to pay back the debt.