South Africa: User Pay Maintained in E-Tolls

South Africa's Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivers his medium-term budget policy statement on October 30, 2019.

Government has resolved to retain the user pay principle in the contentious Gauteng e-tolls matter.

In July, President Cyril Ramaphosa had mandated Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, working with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Gauteng Premier David Makhura, to submit to Cabinet a solution to the impasse around electronic tolling (e-tolls) on Gauteng freeways.

Delivering his second Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament on Wednesday, Minister Mboweni said Cabinet has considered several options to resolve the impasse over the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.

The controversial Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) was launched on 8 October 2007 to ease increasing congestion on Gauteng roads. E-tolling on the Gauteng Freeway system started on 3 December 2013, following a lengthy period of consultation.

"Government has decided to retain the user pay principle. While there will be a further dispensation and value‐added services, compliance will also be strengthened," he said.

Not paying for tolls has already led to the country's road network deteriorating.

"We have been unable to maintain the network. I urge the nation to please pay your bills," he said.

The country, he said, needs to build a culture of payment, as government services can only be sustainable if all South Africans can pay for services.

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