Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a new payment model for e-tolls in Gauteng, which will see fees halved.
The new e-tolls dispensation comes in the form of a new hybrid model, to fund 200km of Gauteng’s freeways as part of Phase 1 of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
The bulk of funds will be drawn from users of the Gauteng e-roads, while the shortfall will be supplemented by funding from the Gauteng Provincial government.
- The monthly cap for e-toll road users has been adjusted to R225, from R450 previously.
- The current 58 cents per kilometre will be reduced to 30 cents per kilometre for people using e-roads.
- Public transport will continue to be exempted and will not have to pay e-toll tariffs.
- Infrequent road users will be granted 30 free gantry trips per year, after which they will need to pay.
- Motorists will have to pay their outstanding e-tolls upon renewal of vehicle licences, Ramaphosa said, “creating a solid link between road users and the e-toll system”.
- All current outstanding e-toll bills will be discounted by 60%, with road users given 6 months to pay these off, the deputy president said.
The reduction in fees will create a shortfall of R390 million in annual revenue, which will be covered by national government and the Gauteng Provincial government.
The new discounts will apply whether motorists have an e-tag or not.
The announcement comes as the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has admitted that thousands of motorists are not paying for e-tolls which were developed as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura set up a panel to assess e-tolls in the second half of last year.
The panel’s report, released in January, found that the e-tolling system, in its current form, was unaffordable and unsustainable.
The report called for a review of certain elements in the system, including the funding mechanisms and the wider social impact it has on the province.
Recommendations made in the report included how to deal with funding infrastructure and the Gauteng Freeway Infrastructure Project (GFIP) in both the short and long terms.
The Deputy President was joined by a high-level delegation including the Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Gauteng MEC’s for Transport and Finance, Ishmael Vadi and Barbara Creecy respectively.
Scrapping e-tolls is the only win
Outa chair Wayne Duvenage said in a statement before the announcement that the only positive stance from government would be to scrap the entire system completely.
“If they scrap tolling and come up with funding through the national fiscus, fuel levy and a couple of other mechanisms, then that would be a win,” he said.
“That’s what society’s looking for, because this is social infrastructure and it should be financed through taxation.”
“E-tolling only works when you have the committed buy-in by society and… when you have really efficient alternatives in terms of public transport, which we don’t have.”
Government would need 80% compliance to make e-tolling work, Duvenage said. The highest it reached was 45% in June 2014, but it averaged at 20%.
“What they don’t want to do is beat the public into submission and participation,” he said. “It has to be a willing process.”
Duvenage acknowledged the need to for the improvement of infrastructure, but said the e-tolling system was wasting tax-payers’ money.
The Outa chair said the fuel levy, which is adding R30 billion to government’s coffers, should be used instead.
“The money is there,” he said.