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E-tolls likely before Christmas

Oct 26 2012 14:31 Sapa

Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. Picture: Beeld

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Pretoria - E-tolling of Gauteng's freeways could be a reality before Christmas in terms of timeframes announced on Friday.

Transport Minister Ben Martins said on Friday marked the beginning of the 30-day public consultation process, after cabinet agreed on revised tariffs for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.

After this period, 14 days would be set aside for Martins to "apply his mind", and then another 14 days for gazetting.

This would give a total of 58 days before e-tolling was put into effect.

Martins told reporters in Pretoria on Friday: "This marks the beginning of a 30-day period for public comment.

"Government will, at the end of the 30 days, having considered the views of the public, publish final tariffs."

A lowering of tariffs was also announced on Friday.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said the e-toll tariff for light vehicles with e-tags had been reduced to 30c/km.

This was down from the 40c/km decided on last year, said Sanral's toll and traffic manager Alex van Niekerk.

The base tariff for light vehicles would remain at 58c/km.

Van Niekerk was giving a Sanral presentation on the e-toll system.

He said the e-tag tariff for motorcycles had been dropped from 24c/km to 18c/km, for medium heavy vehicles (Class B) from R1/km to 75c/km, and heavy vehicles (Class C) from R2/km to R1.50/km.

This was according to the figures released by Van Niekerk.

In his presentation, Van Niekerk said about 78.5% of motorists using light motor vehicles would pay less than R100 a month, using e-tags.

About 91.3% of the same category would pay less than R200 and 96.3% would pay less than R300.

Martins said government had proposed that toll fees for e-tag users be capped at R550 a month for light vehicles.

According to Sanral's presentation, only 0.2% would pay this amount.

Transport director general George Mahlalela said the government had made a contribution of R5.9bn to the project, which made up 25% of the total debt.

Van Niekerk said those exempted from paying e-toll fees included valid public transport vehicles and emergency vehicles.

The process would also allow for applications by motorists for exemptions.

He said an example of this would be a paraplegic person who needed to be driven around.

Martins said: "We believe... the consultation processes we have followed and that the toll tariffs and regulations that were gazetted today (Friday) for comment set the scene for compliance."

Mahlalela said all parties had been consulted except for the Congress of SA Trade Unions and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).

Despite Friday's announcement, the court review of the e-toll system was set for November 26.




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