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HomeNewsE-tolls are dead – Here’s what the gantries will now be used for

E-tolls are dead – Here’s what the gantries will now be used for

The Gauteng and national governments have committed to switch off e-tolls in the province, but only for the purposes of tolling.

The gantries themselves will remain active and instead be used for “crime prevention” going forward, said transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga in a Newzroom Afrika interview.

While the specific method in which they will be used is still to be revealed, a tender document issued by the National Roads Agency (Sanral) in August 2022 indicated that the tolling infrastructure could be repurposed to detect average speed-over-distance violations.

Several other use cases were also put forward, including tracking vehicle and driver’s licence renewals, weigh in motion enforcement, and data monetization.

The minister said that should no unforeseen incidents arise, the relevant parties are working towards turning off e-tolls before the end of this financial year which falls on 31 March 2024.

There are, however, still a number of “very small” issues that must be worked through before the formal switch-off can take place, said Chikunga.

Boycotters beware

Before e-tolls can be shut down, Gauteng must provide its plans for settling its share of the monies owed and how it intends to maintain the 201km of infrastructure once the e-toll income dries up, something that it has reportedly not yet done.

According to Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, the province still has to hand over its share of the debt to treasury as well as answer the question of who is going to do the maintenance on the affected roads.

“We have made our own commitment and gave Sanral money last year, so the province has to give us money. Second, the province has to answer the question, who is going to do the maintenance? That is a discussion they are having with the Department of Transport,” Godongwana told Jacaranda FM last week.

“Unless an agreement is tied down, I  can’t make a commitment as to when the gantries can go.”

With the province being on the hook for 30% of the total debt, it is looking at recovering R6 billion owed by motorists who boycotted the controversial scheme to assist it in meeting these requirements.

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