Today is D-Day for e-tolling bombshell

FILE PICTURE: Cosatu members marched in protest against amongst other things e-tolls from Cosatu house in Braamfontein. Picture: Neil McCartney

All eyes are on Transport Minister Dipuo Peters today, who is expected to make an announcement on matters related to the hugely contested e-tolling system in Gauteng.

It is predicted that Peters will make an announcement on the implementation date for the user-pays system to go ahead.

Peters has previously said that motorists can expect e-tolling to roll-out at the end of this year.

Accordingly, she has two weeks by law to make the public aware of the date for e-tolling prior to its start.

Yesterday Transport department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso produced the latest sales figures for the e-tags necessary for motorists who pass through one of the 42 erected gantries on Gauteng’s major highways.

The number of e-tags sold stood at 707 000, he told The Citizen.

However, Peters in a reply to Parliamentary questions yesterday said the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) was sitting with 1 427 900 unsold e-tags.

It had obtained 2 107 000 e-tags over the last three years, putting the number of e-tags sold at 679 100, reported the SA Press Association.

Rikhotso said the number had gone up as people bought tags in the interim of Peters answering the questions.

“People buy tags every day and we are confident that the number is going to grow as soon as the implementation date is announced.”

He encouraged motorists to register for e-tags to avoid paying a higher rate for e-tolls.

Rikhotso further indicated that more Gauteng residents were calling daily for information on how to register for e-tolling.

Without giving the average number of calls received, he added that both Sanral and the Department had received these queries.

A number of people were uncertain and confused over the future of e-tolling, but its now certain that the system would commence, said Rikhotso.

“Ignore those saying it’s not a legal obligation to get e-taggedm because they want to make South Africans poorer.”

The Congress of SA Trade Unions have asked the public not to purchase e-tags.

DA Premier candidate Mmusi Maimane yesterday unveiled his plans to stop e-tolling and a further roll out of the system should he be elected. Maimane said a referendum on e-tolling would give the public a choice to vote on the system.

Maimane’s plans did not warrant a response, said Rikhotso.

The Freedom Front Plus and the DA will legally challenge the Bill. They want it declared unconstitutional.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has recently lost its Supreme Court of Appeal bid against e-tolls.

It has since abandoned any legal challenges.

Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said he expects Peters to announce plans to launch e-tolling by December 2.

“We continue to be amazed that the government, who are supposed to represent the best interest of its people, ignores the unrelenting opposition to e-tolls from unions, church groups, broad-based civil organisations, all opposition political parties and the public at large,” said Duvenhage.

today in print

today in print