Jacob Mamabolo, MEC for Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure, said a decision has been taken to scrap the Gauteng e-toll system.
“We are already in the post e-toll period. An announcement is imminent,” Mamabolo told SAFM’s Stephen Grootes.
“We are looking to a completely new e-toll dispensation – we are just waiting for that to be formalised.”
“Where we are, there is no turning back on e-tolls. E-tolls are a thing of the past.”
Mamabolo told Grootes e-tolls have been scrapped as the people of Gauteng should not be burdened with paying for national roads.
He highlighted that national roads serve all South Africans and neighbouring states.
“It is unfair to limit funding of national roads to people of Gauteng. All of us must pay. All of us must carry the burden,” he said.
Soon after the interview, however, Mamabolo backtracked saying an announcement regarding e-tolls is imminent.
“We reaffirm that the announcement on scrapping of e-tolls is imminent and must be made soon. The tweet by @SaFmRadio distorts that conversation,” he said on Twitter.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) said it is cautiously optimistic after the announcement by Mamabolo that e-tolls were scrapped.
Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s CEO, welcomed the initial statement by the MEC, but said the organisation awaits confirmation via the right channels before celebrating the news.
“If true, it would mean a massive win for OUTA and all Gauteng motorists who defied the system,” he said.
“However, this is a matter that will need to be confirmed by either Cabinet or the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula.”
“If indeed this decision has been made, MEC Mamabolo may have let the cat out the bag and stolen Minister Mbalula’s thunder. Hence the retraction on social media.”
Duvenage said a mere announcement that e-tolls have been scrapped, won’t cut it.
“OUTA and motorists need to know that government will be reversing the law that declared the Gauteng freeway network as tolled roads,” Duvenage said.
He said many other decisions are linked to the scrapping of e-tolls, like the cancellation of contracts with ETC who collects e-tolls from motorists and amendments to the SANRAL act.
“Unpaid e-toll debt will also have to be written off without further threats to prosecute non-payers,” he said.
No decision on future of e-tolls – Minister
Shortly after Mamabolo’s comments, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula released a statement saying no decision has been made on the future of the e-tolls.
“We are of the view that the MEC has made it quite clear that what he articulated during the interview, is a provincial position of Gauteng, which is not a new matter at all,’ Mbalula said.
The full statement is embedded below.