Gauteng Premier David Makhura says that e-tolls will not be scrapped, according to a report by Eyewitness News.
Makhura was speaking at a final round of consultations with various stakeholders at Gallagher Estate on Friday (6 February) to discuss key findings & recommendations made recently by the e-toll panel he set up last year.
The premier said that all that was left was to decide how the e-toll system will be paid, the tariff rates, and who will be exempted, according to Eyewitness News.
The panel’s report, released by Makhura in January, found that the e-tolling system, in its current form, was unaffordable and unsustainable.
The report called for a review of certain elements in the system, including the funding mechanisms and the wider social impact it has on the province.
Recommendations made in the report include how to deal with funding infrastructure and the Gauteng Freeway Infrastructure Project (GFIP) in both the short and long terms.
Makhura said that the e-toll panel proposed a wide range of options, “we are engaging with our stakeholders to narrow the options”.
The premier said that the current user pay system is unfair.
“Some of you argued for this option or that option, but the panel’s determination may have been different. Today is the last round of consultation, one more chance. You might be able to persuade us in the working groups if you could not persuade the panel.”
“We take seriously all the issues the panel has raised about democracy. Consultation and democracy can never be a waste of time,” Makhura said.
“The current situation will not prevail after we have finished with the consultation process,” he said.
The report recommended that a “hybrid” funding option be adopted, not only to pay for phase 1 of the GFIP (which e-tolling forms a part of), but also phase 2 and 3, which are yet to be developed.
A hybrid system would still include e-tolls, but to a lesser degree than the current format. It would include:
- Funding from the provincial fiscus;
- A reduced-cap e-toll;
- A ring-fenced national fuel levy;
- Increasing and ring-fencing the cost of advertising on toll routes;
- Increasing and ring-fencing vehicle license fees;
- Increasing fees for tyres;
- and recovering funds from the construction industry.