HomeNewsLatest NewsTransport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga Admits Government's Mistakes With E-Tolls "We Could Have...

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga Admits Government’s Mistakes With E-Tolls “We Could Have Done Better”

The resistance from Gauteng motorists indicated that wider consultation and a different approach could have been taken. Chikunga stated that the government has listened to the people's concerns and their decision to stop e-tolls reflects that.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has acknowledged that the government could have handled the controversial e-tolls project differently.

During a briefing at the SA National Roads Agency’s (SANRAL) central operations center in Centurion, Chikunga apologized to citizens for the decade-long debacle but did not concede that the consultation process was inadequate.

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Chikunga provided a detailed breakdown of what will happen once the e-tolls scheme is finally scrapped at midnight on Friday.

The toll declaration on seven sections of the national roads, which formed part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and had electronic tolling, has been withdrawn by SANRAL. This means that road users will no longer be charged for the use of e-toll roads.

The scrapping of the project will leave the province with 43 gantries placed 10km apart on the N1, N2, N12, and R21 highways. These gantries will be repurposed by the Gauteng government for various initiatives. The gantry lights and cameras will remain on for road safety purposes and crime-fighting.

Starting from Thursday, April 11 at 23:59:59, road users will no longer be required to pay e-tolls. However, current valid accounts can still be used for payment at toll plazas and for other value-added services, including parking.

The e-toll website will be updated to reflect the cancellation, and the e-toll stalls will remain open for account queries and other potential transport-related services.

The e-toll branding will be removed in phases, and invoices will still be issued until Thursday. However, no transactions made after midnight on Friday will appear on the invoice. After midnight on Friday, e-tolls will no longer exist in South Africa.

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Minister Chikunga acknowledged that while the e-toll system was implemented after some consultation, it was clear that the consultation was not enough.

The resistance from Gauteng motorists indicated that wider consultation and a different approach could have been taken. Chikunga stated that the government has listened to the people’s concerns and their decision to stop e-tolls reflects that.

Motorists will still be obliged to pay their e-toll debt until Friday, as legislated. Discussions on enforcing this obligation are ongoing. The latest charges will remain in motorists’ accounts for 30 days after Thursday. After that, those who open new accounts will start with a clean slate and will not be charged for historic debt. The government is considering what to do with older debt.

The maintenance of Gauteng roads will remain the responsibility of SANRAL. The Gauteng government will contribute R4.1 billion over four years to address the maintenance backlog, while the remaining balance will come from grants SANRAL receives from the national government. The e-toll scheme was used to fund maintenance, and the Gauteng government has agreed to cover the backlog.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi stated that the government has a vested interest in maintaining the e-toll infrastructure. The gantries, which have CCTV cameras, are crucial in fighting crime and tracking missing cars, goods, and individuals.

The infrastructure will be repurposed to help fill the revenue gap created by the scrapping of the e-toll system. Discussions are also ongoing on using the gantries to monitor speeding cars.

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Parusha Naidoo for SurgeZirc SA
Parusha Naidoo for SurgeZirc SA
Parusha Naidoo is a skilled journalist who writes local and world news for SurgeZirc South Africa. With a passion for delivering accurate and reliable information, Parusha has become a trusted voice in the news industry. With years of experience in the field, Parusha has developed a keen eye for identifying important stories and presenting them in a clear and concise manner.
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