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Tolls on hold: Sanral backs down

2012-01-13 17:54

TOLLS HOLD: The controversial e-tolling system in Gauteng has been postponed for further investigation.

JOHANNESBURG - The postponement of the introduction of e-tolling in Gauteng has been welcomed by Cosatu, transport workers and the Democratic Alliance.

SA Congress of Trade Unions spokesman Patrick Craven said the decision was “a significant victory" for millions of Gautengers opposed to having to pay to travel on the province's highways.

The SA National Roads Agency Ltd announced earlier in the day that the implementation of e-tolling had been put on hold after a meeting on Thursday with transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele.


Satawu national spokesman Mamokgethi Rea Molopyane said the decision was a victory for the poor and working class. DA spokesman Neil Campbell said the system was unjust and would have failed because of boycotts.

The justice system would fail, he said, to cope with the huge volume of prosecutions of motorists who refused to pay toll fees.

Sanral claimed this week that 213 000 e-toll accounts had been registered for the first phase of the controversial Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. The e-toll tags issued would have started at the Bakwena toll plaza in February.

On Friday Sanral chairman Tembakazi Mnyaka said Sanral would investigate further and produce a report for Ndebele to present to the Cabinet. The board was committed to exploring various avenues to meet the obligations to stakeholders.

Light motor vehicles using Gauteng's toll roads would have been charged R0.40/km, medium vehicles R1/km, "longer" vehicles R2/km and motorcycles R0.24/km. Qualifying commuter taxis and buses would have been exempt.


Cosatu said it would continue to urge motorists not to register with Sanral or to buy e-tags. Craven said: “Our members remain mobilised for a campaign of mass action if the decision is reversed."

The DA said it was "not surprised" by Sanral's decision. The agency had not done its homework and there had been insufficient public consultation.

Satawu called on the government to prioritise public transport instead of "being obsessed with elite projects that enriched a few at the expense of the majority".

GFIP phase one cost R20-billion to complete. Most of the cost was financed through loans.

A number of petitions were handed to Ndebele, including one from the Freedom Front and a joint one from Cosatu, the SA National Civic Organisation, the SA National NGO Coalition, Satawu and the Democratic Alliance.

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