E-toll report done

Read time 2min 30sec

The report on Gauteng e-tolling by the Department of Transport's (DOT's) steering committee has been finalised and an announcement regarding the report will be made tomorrow.

The steering committee was set up by the DOT to host public and stakeholder consultations around the controversial e-tolling system, after initial gazetted fees were suspended due to public outrage.

It has compiled a stakeholder engagement report, which was presented to transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele and Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi more than 10 days ago, according to Democratic Alliance spokesperson for Gauteng transport Neil Campbell.

Chief director of communications at the Gauteng DOT Octavia Mamabolo says an announcement will be made regarding e-tolling and the report tomorrow.

However, the department has not given any further indication as to whether this announcement will include the final decision on e-tolling and the toll fees.

The system would have become operational next week on 23 June but the established fees of 66c/km for standard light motor vehicles, and R3.96/km for heavy vehicles were considered to be too high by several parties.

Undermining engagement

The steering committee was supposed to have a final meeting with stakeholders that participated in the consultation process once the report was finalised but Campbell says this has not yet happened.

The department previously said no announcement will be made on e-tolling until this meeting had been held.

“It is only after this consultation, over the coming weeks, that the minister will then be in a position to issue a final decision on e-tolling.”

It added that in the interest of road users, it cannot rush into hasty decisions on the e-tolling issue as this might undermine the aim of having engaged with all the stakeholders.

Sanral sovereignty

At a previous meeting, transport director-general George Mahlalela said there were two main points crystallising from the public consultations, according to Campbell.

He said the first is that there should be some kind of independent body serving as a watchdog over the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), since the agency should not be in control of the e-toll system on its own.

The second point that continued to emerge is that instead of toll fees there should be a fuel levy and this levy should be implemented countrywide.

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.

The estimated monthly revenue from e-tolling, based on current traffic flow and the proposed fee of 66c/km, is R300 million per month. Live testing of the e-tolling system has already begun.

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