Johannesburg - The transport department should reconsider
the future of toll roads in urban areas, Business Unity SA (Busa) said on
"Busa believes the viability of instituting open road tolling systems in urban areas needs to come in for scrutiny in
particular," the business lobby body said.
"The concentrated nature of our economy means that
this will result in certain downstream cost multiplication, which will both
affect the cost competitiveness of our economy and impact poor consumers."
Busa's call came after Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele's
announcement on Sunday that all "road projects processes" for tolling
national roads would be halted for consultations to take place.
"While Busa understands that the suspension does not
extend to the first phase of open road tolls for the Gauteng Freeway
Improvement Project... we nonetheless hope that steps will be investigated to
soften the economic impact of this leg of the system as well."
Busa said it was pleased that the National Treasury was
included in a ministerial task team considering toll roads.
"It is clear from current rising trends in the
costs of doing business in South Africa that the way infrastructure provision
and maintenance are funded need to be carefully reconsidered," Busa said.
The 185km Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project is due to
start charging toll fees in February.
Light motor vehicles would have to pay 40c a kilometre, medium
vehicles R1/km, "longer" vehicles R2/km and bikers 24c/km. Qualifying commuter taxis and buses would be exempted.
The transport department announced earlier this month that a
task team had been formed to look into the issue of toll roads and would
include Ndebele and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.