Sanral on Thursday welcomed the passage of a bill by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) critical to the introduction of e-tolls.
“[We] welcome the passing yesterday [Wednesday] of the Transport and Related Matters Amendment Bill by the [NCOP] which amended the Sanral Act,” the SA National Roads Agency Ltd on Thursday.
The passing of the bill allows for Transport Minister Ben Martins to make regulations regarding e-tolling.
“This bill enhances the legislative framework for the implementation of projects with electronic tolling, and will assist in improving the effectiveness of toll operations and enforcement,” CEO Nazir Alli said.
The agency said traffic volumes on Gauteng’s freeways had been increasing steadily before improvements were made. This had resulted in a 50 percent reduction in travel time between Johannesburg and Pretoria on the N1 during peak hours.
Alli said the improvements showed e-tolls would benefit the economy.
“Users of Gauteng’s e-roads have already reaped the rewards of the improvements and will continue to do so. This system will benefit the economy and not hinder it.”
The Inkatha Freedom Party said on Thursday it remained opposed to the implementation of e-tolls. It supported the Congress of SA Trade Union-led protests scheduled for Friday in Johannesburg.
The party said it was clear most people were opposed to e-tolls. It accused government of disregarding the financial burden e-tolls would add to the poor and those living in townships.
“Adding to this, the IFP [in Gauteng] believes this will also impinge on other sectors such as agriculture, since it will increase the cost of doing business in Gauteng,” caucus leader Bonginkosi Dhlamini said.
Johannesburg metro police Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said Cosatu had not been given permission to protest on the city’s highways on Friday.
This was because the previous “drive-slow” protest in December had led to motorists stopping their cars and walking on the highway, in contravention of the National Road Traffic Act.
All law enforcement agencies would be on standby to ensure the protest did not go ahead on Friday, Minnaar said.
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said the trade union federation would contest the decision to not allow the protest to go ahead.