New scheme for e-tolls

Gauteng premier David Makhura promised “major financial relief” to motorists in his state-of-the-province address on Monday.

“The provincial government is part of the current consultation process… to develop a better dispensation which will mitigate the negative impact of the e-tolls on the people of Gauteng, especially the middle and lower income groups.

“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 in a speech prepared for delivery in the legislature in Johannesburg.

The provincial government was part of a consultation process led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He said the final decision on the new dispensation would be made once the work of the intergovernmental team was completed after receiving a report from the e-toll review panel.

Last year, Makhura established a review panel to assess the socio-economic impact of e-tolling, following calls for it to be scrapped.

On Monday, Makhura said the review panel’s primary findings were that the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) had benefited the economy and Gauteng’s residents in various ways.

This included better quality roads, reduced travel time, fuel savings, lower vehicle operating costs, and improved logistics efficiencies for business.

The panel found that in its current form, the e-toll system was “unaffordable and inequitable and placed a disproportionate burden on low and middle income households” and was “administratively too cumbersome”.

The panel recommended that elements of the current e-toll system be reviewed to address affordability, equity, fairness, administrative simplicity, and sustainability.

Makhura said after receiving the report he spoke to local and national government about the recommendations.

“The system needs to be reviewed to address mainly affordability by low and middle income motorists and administrative simplicity, while the user pays principle is reaffirmed,” he said.

“The panel also recommended a hybrid funding model which will be made up of contributions by national and provincial government to ease the financial burden on motorists.”

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

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New scheme for e-tolls