The SA government has proposed a number of new laws following the failure of e-tolling in Gauteng.
The purpose of The South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Amendment Bill is to amend previous road Acts to address the public outcry which arose as a result of the implementation of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.
“Because the manner in which the public consultation process was conducted on this project was not to the satisfaction of the public, there is a need to strengthen consultation with the Premier of a province and the municipal Council wherein the road to be tolled lies, by requiring a majority vote in favour of the proposed declaration in the relevant provincial legislature,” the drafters of the Bill said.
The Bill wants to place further check and balances on the declaration of a toll road and ensure that the general public is not further financially burdened by the declaration of a toll road by making an alternative and affordable route available.
When a new toll is proposed in a province, the premier must give 30 days for objections after the consultation process. They must also call for a referendum if objections break the threshold of 55% and above.
In June, transport minister Joe Maswanganyi said that the South African government would once again review Gauteng’s e-toll policy, in the hopes that a better one can be found.
“We want to come up with a tolling policy that our people will actually accept. We are not closing our ears to what people are saying – we are working with the government of Gauteng and with Sanral, and at the end of the day we believe we will come with a policy on tolling that will be acceptable.”
This would mark yet another review for the Gauteng e-toll system, after the Gauteng government launched the e-toll review committee in 2015, which saw a 60% discount offered on toll fees, and an extension of the grace period to pay discounted rates.