E-toll review panel findings: everything you need to know

The Gauteng provincial government has released its findings of the e-toll review panel, which suggests alternative funding mechanisms and fee structures as part of an e-toll review.

The panel’s report, released by Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Thursday (15 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 include how to deal with funding infrastructure and the Gauteng Freeway Infrastructure Project (GFIP) in both the short and long terms.

Funding E-tolls

The report recommended that a “hybrid” funding option be adopted, not only to pay for phase 1 of the GFIP (which e-tolling forms a part of), but also phase 2 and 3, which are yet to be developed.

A hybrid system would still include e-tolls, but to a lesser degree than the current format. It would include:

  • Funding from the provincial fiscus;
  • A reduced-cap e-toll;
  • A ring-fenced national fuel levy;
  • Increasing and ring-fencing the cost of advertising on toll routes;
  • Increasing and ring-fencing vehicle license fees;
  • Increasing fees for tyres;
  • and recovering funds from the construction industry.

The panel stressed, however, that phase 1 of the GFIP should be paid for through provincial sources.

What about e-tags?

The panel also recommended that e-tags become, to an extent, compulsory.

It suggested that e-tags be issued when vehicle licences get renewed, “possibly credited with a capped fee for the first month”.

In order to make this option more appealing, the panel suggests:

  • “Prepaid” methods of reloading the tab that people are familiar with;
  • Eliminating all “alternative tariffs” and making each gantry a flat rate;
  • Removing all past and future penalty fees;
  • and removing all postal administration.

The panel also suggested switching off gantries that provide access to low income areas, and allowing all non-compliant users an opportunity to back pay usage based on e-tagged rates with no penalties.

Exemption status extension

The panel recommended that complete exemption be provided to the following groups:

  • Low-income vehicle owners (based on presented evidence and a possible check with SARS);
  • Taxis;
  • Scholar transport;
  • People with disabilities;
  • NGOs doing charitable work.

Government should also consider switching off gantries for periods of time on weekends, the panel said.

Notably, the panel also suggest that a new “transport authority” be established to manage dedicated funding and the improvement of all modes of transport – with priority attention given to public transport.

This authority would regulate tariffs across the transport sector, create a positive investment climate and protect the public interest.

Provincial government is working with Tshwane, Johannesburg, and Ekhuruleni to consider the best funding model moving forward, Makhura said.

Makhura said he would hold a consultative meeting in February to determine the best funding method.

“We take the view that every next step must be working with the people of Gauteng,” Makhura said.

An official announcement will be made by government after the consultation process.

In the mean time, Makhura said road users should keep paying e-tolls.

More on e-tolls

E-tolling needs to be reviewed: official report

E-toll panel rejects fuel levy: report

The perfect way to scrap e-tolls

E-toll costs may come down: report

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E-toll review panel findings: everything you need to know