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Government Misses Targets Again: Formal e-toll switch-off set for March 31st after delays

Azra Hoosen | ah@radioislam.co.za
21 February 2024 | 13:00 CAT
2 min read

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has announced a long-awaited development regarding the contentious issue of e-tolls, revealing that the formal process to switch them off will commence on March 31st.

During the Gauteng State of the Province Address (SoPA), Lesufi stated that “E-tolls will be history in our province”. He disclosed that after negotiations with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, an agreement was reached to initiate the delinking of e-tolls by the end of March.

Originally slated for termination on December 31st, 2022, the scrapping of e-tolls faced obstacles in negotiations between the Gauteng government and the National Treasury. Lesufi suggested a significant development in the ongoing saga of e-toll removal in the province.

Speaking to Radio Islam, Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) CEO, Wayne Duvenhage underscored the widespread frustration over the government’s failure to execute the decision to terminate the e-toll system.

“This is the umpteenth deadline. I have lost count of the number of times they have said e-tolls would be scrapped, but it never happens. The scheme is essentially dead, and only a handful of people and businesses are keeping it on life support. For the 90% who aren’t paying, it’s irrelevant. However, it’s important that the government implements this decision now,” said Duvenage.

The collapse of the e-toll system resulted in substantial debt accumulation by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), placing the agency under significant financial strain.

In October 2022, Finance Minister Godongwana outlined a strategy to alleviate Sanral’s financial burden by absorbing a portion of its debt. Additionally, the Gauteng government pledged to assume a share of the debt and collaborate with the national government to establish alternative revenue-generating mechanisms for maintenance purposes after the removal of e-tolls.

“Why has the Gauteng province been forced to pay a debt that they did not incur in the first place? They have now agreed to maintain roads that are not listed on their assets register but on SANRAL’s,” said Duvenage.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) reported that approximately 10% to 12% of road users in Gauteng continue to pay for e-tolls.

Throughout this period of delay, Sanral continued to collect e-toll revenue from Gauteng motorists despite the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the scrapping process.

Duvenage is hoping for a swift resolution to the issue so that everyone can move forward.

LISTEN to the full interview with Ml Junaid Kharsany and Outa CEO Wayne Duvenhage, here.

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