3 December 2013

South Africa: E-Toll Tarrifs Exaggerated - Peters

Photo: Jespahjoy/Flickr
Traffic in Johannesburg (file photo).

Johannesburg — Expected monthly e-toll tariffs have been exaggerated by critics, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.

"Expected monthly tariffs payable by light motor vehicles show that about 83 percent will pay not more than R100 a month, and 0.59 percent in the same class will reach the maximum of R450," she told reporters at the SA National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral) operations centre in Midrand.

E-tolling went into operation on many of Gauteng's highways at midnight on Monday.

Peters said the decision to proceed with the electronic tolling system on Gauteng's highways had been made after due consideration.

"Sanral did not just wake up one morning and decided that it was going to toll certain sections of Gauteng highway," she said.

Cabinet had also not just approved the project without applying its mind and taking into account the country's transport policy.

"We are very disappointed that some of our citizens and leaders, including those who have in the past styled themselves as champions of the rule of the law, will not this time around accept the rule of the law," said Peters.

It had been a long, bumpy journey since the project was conceptualised, she said.

"Since then a lot has happened. The project has been delivered, debates have raged on, and court cases have been fought."

Four court cases were heard and Sanral emerged victorious in all of them.

She told reporters the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project had provided the required road infrastructure in the province.

A total of 201km of freeways had been upgraded, 585km new traffic lanes added, 34 interchanges upgraded, and four new directional ramps were built.

"It is very unfortunate that when people complain about the cost of e-tolls, they do not look at the benefits."

She said the e-toll system would enhance safety on the roads network as cameras would be monitoring traffic day and night.

"Any incident that happens on the network can be responded to immediately. We have law enforcers who are sitting in the centre and can activate an immediate response to any suspect vehicle in the network."

She encouraged more e-tolled road users to register and co-operate with the agency.

By late Monday afternoon, a little under 800,000 people were registered for e-tolling.

Sanral CEO Nazir Alli said they were satisfied with the numbers, but believed as time went by more people would register.

"There was an uncertainty around the project, even yesterday [Monday] we were in court and once the high court had ruled we saw the increasing numbers. By close of business we registered 29,000 people on Monday only," he said.

The application by the Freedom Front Plus to stop e-tolling was struck from the roll by the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

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