Transport Minister Dipuo Peters fired a political broadside on Wednesday (20 November) suggesting that the implementation of e-tolls on Gauteng’s freeways could help reverse the legacy of colonialism and apartheid planning.
The minister announced that e-tolls will commence on 3 December 2013, as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.
In delivering a progress report on the much criticized initiative, Peters said: “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.”
“Apartheid spatial planning never envisaged a situation where Gauteng will be as populated as it is today, mainly due to the influx of people from different provinces for economic reasons.”
Government has listened
Peters said that by dropping tariffs for road users, government had listened to the public.
“Government has made several concessions as part of our efforts to minimise the financial burden on the users of the Gauteng e-tolled road network.”
“Tariffs have been reduced and registered public transport exempted.”
“Treasury has allocated funds to the project to ensure reductions in the toll tariffs. We have moved from 66 cents per kilometer to the current 30 cents for light motor vehicles for registered road users who are in possession of an e-tag.” Peters said.
“This is an indication that indeed this government cares for its people and has listened to the concerns raised by the public,” the minister said.
“We wish to thank those who have already registered and are in possession of their e-tags. We encourage motorists who haven’t registered to do so. Unregistered motorists will be levied almost double the cost per kilometer,” Peters said.
DA Premier Candidate for Gauteng, Mmusi Maimane, on Tuesday (19 November) outlined his plan to fight e-tolling in Gauteng as part of a campaign ahead of the 2014 elections.
“We will continue to fight against this system at every turn,” Maimane said.
Last week, the DA submitted papers to the High Court claiming that the “e-tolling” Bill was incorrectly passed by Parliament and signed into law by President Jacob Zuma. The party believes that it was incorrectly tagged and should be declared unconstitutional.
The DA said it will unveil new anti-e-tolling billboards, having commissioned similar billboards to be erected along Johannesburg’s highways next to e-toll gantries in October.