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E-tolls outcry inspires fresh bill to avoid past mistakes

Aug 04 2017 09:49

An e-toll gantry in Gauteng.

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Cape Town – The public outcry over Gauteng’s e-tolls network inspired Democratic Alliance member of Parliament Manny de Freitas to draft a bill to prevent similar developments in future.

De Freitas wrote to Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete on Thursday, requesting that his Private Members Bill be tabled in Parliament and referred to the transport portfolio committee.

“My bill addresses the public outcry which arose as a result of the implementation of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, commonly known as e-tolls,” he said in a statement on Friday.

If the bill passes, a majority vote would be required to authorise the implementation of a new toll road in the relevant provincial legislature.

It also proposes that for every toll road, an alternative road should be established and continuously maintained to give drivers who can’t afford tolls an alternative option.  

“What this bill seeks to do is place further checks and balances on the declaration of a toll road,” he said. “It ensures that the general public is not further financially burdened with the declaration of a toll road by ensuring an alternative and affordable route is available.”

The bill also proposes that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) in cooperation with the province and the municipalities undertake socio-economic, environmental and traffic impact assessments in the first instance.

“The experiences in Gauteng and the Western Cape show that there is a need to strengthen consultation with the premier of a province and the municipal council wherein a road to be tolled lies,” he said.

“I believe that this bill would ensure that any future e-tolls would be done with proper public consultation and engagement so that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”

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