E-tolling on Gauteng roads will begin in the next two months, the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) said on Thursday.
“What we are now waiting for is the completion of the parliamentary process, half of which is already done,” Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said in a statement.
“As soon as the National Council of Provinces [NCOP] finalises the Transport and Related Matters Amendment Bill, the bill will go back to the National Assembly for adoption.”
The bill legalises e-tolling of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and was approved in the National Assembly.
Mona said Transport Minister Ben Martins would then announce the tariffs, followed by the necessary notice periods.
“That whole process will take about two months to complete. Thereafter e-tolling will start,” said Mona.
“We have a responsibility to collectively build this country and are grateful that there are individual and corporate citizens who see the value of this project and are prepared to play their part in this regard.”
The NCOP’s Democratic Alliance member Elza van Lingen said Sanral’s assumption the bill would be finalised within two months demonstrated “stubborn determination to rush ahead” with e-tolling, despite strong public resistance.
“The DA reminds both Sanral and the minister of transport that the NCOP is not a rubber-stamp for National Assembly and Cabinet decisions,” she said.
“It is a separate house that must consider all legislation on its merits. We will not allow for this bill to be rushed through the NCOP to the detriment of South Africans.”
Van Lingen said the DA would oppose the bill in the NCOP and do everything possible to ensure it was rejected.
“This bill will create the world’s most expensive toll collection system, hurt poor South Africans, undermine economic growth and ultimately result in job losses.”
She said the party would fight for an extensive public participation programme in all nine provinces.
“The NCOP must take its time to consult with as many South Africans as possible so that all objections with the programme can be raised and properly considered by the committee.
“We simply cannot approve legislation that will give Sanral and the department of transport carte blanche to do as they please without hearing the views of the public first.”
In April last year, the High Court in Pretoria granted the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) an interdict approving a full judicial review before electronic tolling could be put into effect.
The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of a review. Sanral and the National Treasury appealed the court order. In September, the Constitutional Court set aside the interim order.
In December the High Court in Pretoria dismissed Outa’s application to scrap e-tolling.
On January 25 the court granted Outa leave to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein. The SCA hearing will take place in September.
Mona advised motorists not to wait for the outcome of the appeal before registering for their e-tags.
“That appeal has nothing to do with whether e-tolling should go ahead or not. That question was settled by the Constitutional Court last year when it set aside the interdict that prevented Sanral from implementing e-tolling.”