The transport department disputed a claim by Outa on Tuesday (19 November) that the e-tolling system will come into operation on December 2.
Spokesman Tiyani Ponto-Rikhotso said he did not know where Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) chairman Wayne Duvenage got the date.
“There will be a briefing tomorrow [Wednesday] where the minister will update the public about a number of issues including the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. I don’t know where he gets the date from,” he said.
In a statement, Duvenage said: “Outa also expects the minister of transport to shortly announce their plans to launch e-tolling on 2 December.”
He was waiting to hear how the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) planned to deal with people who failed to pay their toll fees.
“Outa… trusts that Sanral will provide much more detail about how they plan to enforce the non-payment of e-tolls using the Criminal Procedure Act, and how the strained justice system is expected to cope with thousands of cases resulting from non e-toll payment,” he said.
Earlier, in Parliament, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said Sanral had over 1.4 million unsold e-tags.
“Sanral procured 2,107,000 e-tags over the past three years; [a total of] 1,427,900 have not been allocated,” she said in a written reply to a parliamentary question.
The figures imply 679,100 e-tags have been sold.
Six weeks ago, Sanral CEO Nazir Ali said 600,000 e-toll tags were in circulation.
In September, President Jacob Zuma signed into law the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill, giving Sanral the nod to start e-tolling on Gauteng’s freeways.
In her reply, Peters said Sanral had spent about R25.3 million between January and October on campaigns to encourage the public to buy e-tags. This was in addition to about R11.3m spent in November and December last year.
Democratic Alliance national spokesman Mmusi Maimane told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday that the existing gantries on the highways were only the first phase of the e-tolling project.
He said Sanral intended to put up more gantries and extend e-tolling.
“It is expected that at least 300km of the province’s highways will be tolled in phase two of the project,” Maimane said.
“It is likely that this will be pushed through in the same manner as the existing phase, without proper consultation and at great expense.”