New e-toll system to give ‘major financial relief’

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says that a revised e-toll system will provide ‘major financial relief’, and will also have an easier payment model.

In a state of the province address on Monday (23 February), Makhura said that a final decision on e-tolls will be made once the work of the intergovernmental team, led by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, is completed.

Makhura said his government was consulting with the deputy president “to develop a better response to address all the issues”.

“I am confident that the new dispensation should provide major financial relief to motorists, while simplifying the payment system to make it easy for road users to pay,” he said.

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

E-tolling was implemented on Gauteng highways in December 2013, following several court challenges to halt the project.

The system has since been largely rejected by motorists, who believe they were left out of the consultation phase of the project.

Makhura said that while the panel’s findings acknowledged that the scheme has benefited the province, the current system must be reviewed to be more fair, and ensure sustainability.

The panel recommended a hybrid payment model – to ease the financial burden for motorists.

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.

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New e-toll system to give ‘major financial relief’