E-tolls to commence Dec 3

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters seen during a march against E-Tolls, 01 November 2013, In Johannesburg CBD. The group marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square to the Gauteng Provincial Government Building to air their grievances. Picture: Alaister Russell

The controversial e-tolling system will roll out across Gauteng on December 3, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said this morning.

“Tolling should start then,” she told reporters in Pretoria.

She said those without tags would pay double the amount, and would not benefit from the discounts.

Peters said systems were in place to ensure the system functioned, and the SA National Roads Agency Limited was capable of this responsibility.

Electronic tolling would contribute to the fight against licence plate cloning, and reduce congestion, she said.

Sanral CEO Nazir Alli said a debt collection process had been started, and motorists would receive a bill after seven days. If they ignored repeated reminders to pay, they would get a summons.

Government-owned vehicles were not exempted from e-tolling, he said.

Peters said since the first phase of the project had been completed, Gauteng motorists had enjoyed the convenience of driving on world-class highways.

“The roads [are] truly magnificent.”

She said three-lane roads were expanded to five and six lanes. A “high-tech” travel demand system was introduced to ensure constant monitoring of traffic on the e-tolled road network.

“The system ensures that officials manning traffic flows from the operations centre in Samrand are able to pick up incidents such as car breakdowns and crashes as and when they occur,” she said.

Sanral had introduced the “golden hour” service where emergency vehicles located at various spots on the highways were ready to respond to incidents.

“This assists in preventing traffic jams and secondary crashes.”

Peters said Sanral had to approach the markets to raise at least R20 billion to implement the upgrades.

“This was due to the inadequacy of resources to respond to what was becoming a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. The ever-growing congestion on the highways… was reaching crisis proportions.”

Business had expressed concerns about the impact on business.

“We have learnt many lessons from this project, one of them being that it will take some time to reverse the legacy of colonialism and apartheid planning,” said Peters.

“Apartheid spatial planning never envisaged a situation where Gauteng would be as populated as it is today, mainly due to the influx of people from different provinces for economic reasons.”

She said government had made several concessions to minimise the financial burden on the e-tolled road network.

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.

today in print

today in print