Scrapping of e-tolls a victory for Gauteng motorists, says AA

27 October 2022 - 10:21
By Motoring Reporter and AASA
The motoring public of Gauteng showed their dissatisfaction with the e-tolling system through non-compliance and the government made the right decision to scrap it. File photo.
Image: SIMON MATHEBULA The motoring public of Gauteng showed their dissatisfaction with the e-tolling system through non-compliance and the government made the right decision to scrap it. File photo.

Finance minister Enoch Godongwana’s scrapping of e-tolls as a funding mechanism for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) is a victory for Gauteng motorists and brings an end to years of protest and objection against the system.

However, focus must shift to how the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) will fund its road maintenance and development, according to the Automobile Association.

The AA says the government’s commitment to pay 70% of outstanding debt for the GFIP is also to be welcomed. The remaining 30% will be paid by the GPG.

“This is a positive move and means the debts of Sanral in relation to GFIP will be dealt with. SMS communication late yesterday afternoon after the announcement to registered e-tolls users that a final pronouncement had been made is equally important.” 

“While the SMS states ‘The impact on your SANRAL Account will be communicated soonest’ we believe all debt will also be cancelled, again another positive development and one which we urged government to make,” says the AA.

Moving forward, the AA says the maintenance of roads in Gauteng, including the GFIP, will have to come directly from the GPG. Godongwana indicated that the provincial government could use a variety of mechanisms to raise money, including e-tolls, toll plazas (which would be impractical) or through the provincial budget.

The AA says these are positive developments, but the concern is how maintenance and development of the additional phases of the GFIP will be funded.

“The provincial roads budget is about R9bn annually. However, in each of the last two years, R2bn has, for instance, been allocated to the Gautrain to compensate that private system for low ridership levels through the Patronage Guarantee. Looking ahead, when considering more extensive funding of roads in the province through the GPG’s Roads Budget, will this allocation to Gautrain — which serves a small, elite group of commuters in the province — continue, or will it be reallocated to serve the interests of motorists in Gauteng which comprise a far bigger portion of the commuting public?” asks the AA.

“The motoring public of Gauteng showed their dissatisfaction with the e-tolling system through non-compliance and government has made the right decision to scrap it. The AA will continue to urge for a solution to road funding that serves the needs of all the citizens of the province without placing additional financial pressure on them for funding, as they already pay for this through existing taxation,” it concluded.

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