Cabinet yesterday approved the reduced tariffs for e-tolling in Gauteng, as suggested by the Department of Transport's (DOT's) steering committee in June.
It agreed that minister of transport Sibusiso Ndebele gives effect to the approval in terms of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) and National Roads Act, 1998.
The approved structure dictates that motorcycles (Class A1) with e-tags will pay 24c/km; light vehicles (Class A2) will pay 40c/km; medium vehicles (Class B) 100c/km; and “longer” vehicles (Class C) 200c/km.
The DOT says qualifying commuter taxis (Class A2) and commuter busses (Class B) are completely exempt from the e-toll system.
It has not as yet indicated what the tariffs would be for vehicles without e-tags, but these are expected to be higher.
The previously suggested reduction for light vehicles without e-tags was a drop from 66c/km, to 58c/km; and from R3.95 for heavy vehicles without e-tags to R2.95.
Cabinet made the final pronouncement on this matter. “The DOT, through Sanral, will now commence with implementation of the Cabinet decision and further announcements regarding implementation will be made in due course.”
Tariffs initially gazetted for the system in April were suspended due to public outrage over how high they were.
Ndebele subsequently set up a steering committee to host consultations on the matter. The steering committee in June recommended new tariffs that offered slight reductions on the initial fees.
The minister had set the end of July as the deadline for a decision on the tariffs once the reduced structure was suggested.
“The implementation of further phases of the GFIP [Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project] will now be re-assessed, including by the newly announced Presidential Commission on Infrastructure. The re-assessment will involve discussions on infrastructure strategic priorities, on how best to address the challenges of congestion on some of our key road networks, and on funding of these priorities,” says the department.
Transport director-general George Mahlalela previously said the only decision to be made is around what the tariffs will be and not whether the system will go ahead. He said the principle of e-tolling has already been accepted.
However, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) has contested this, arguing that the concept has not been accepted.
It also says the proposed tariff reductions are not enough. Several stakeholders said the reductions are a positive progression, but not a satisfactory end-result.
Cosatu has said it will march and plans demonstrations, pickets and stay-aways, if the tolls are not scrapped.
“We are confident that thousands of other Gauteng residents will be joining in these protests as well.”
The initial gazetted fees for vehicles with e-tags were 30c/km motorcycles, 49.5c/km for light vehicles, R1.49/km for medium vehicles, R2.97/km for heavy vehicles, 16.5c/km for taxis, and 50c/km for commuter busses.
The e-tolling project is an open road, multilane toll infrastructure that allows tolls to be charged without drivers having to stop. There are no physical booths.