With some media reports stating that commuters will know on Friday when and how e-tolling will be implemented, Moneyweb has established that there is still no clarity on when an announcement will be made.
Thabo Masebe, spokesperson for the inter-ministerial committee established to meet with stakeholders on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), told Moneyweb on Wednesday that the aim was to have a decision on Friday, but that “it could be later than that”. He said the committee is still meeting with other organisations, mentioning that another meeting with Cosatu still has to take place.
Cosatu has been a very vocal opponent to the system, even intervening and meeting with the ANC at the time the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) and partners applied to the North Gauteng High Court for an interdict against e-tolling. This meeting led to the ANC asking government to postpone the implementation with a month.
Judge Bill Prinsloo then ruled in favour of Outa, granting an interdict, which has since been overturned by the Constitutional Court.
Even the director-general of the department of transport, George Mahlalela, could not provide clarity on when an announcement will be made. When Moneyweb contacted Mahlalela he said that the announcement was going to be on Friday, but that everything was not in place yet and that the announcement might be postponed.
This contrasts with the view from the legal counsel of the National Treasury, advocate Jeremy Gauntlett SC, who said in the Constitutional Court that “on paper” the system was ready to go and that it would simply take a couple of weeks to put up the latest tariffs before the system could kick off.
A lot was made in court about the financial repercussions to the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) if e-tolls are not collected as soon as possible.
Apart from the tariffs, other legislative elements are also still not in place eg, regulations and detail around exemption for public transport as well as the legal framework for prosecuting toll offenders.