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Thursday / 20 June 2024
HomeNewsGoodbye e-tolls – Gauteng borrowing billions to shut down tolling system in March

Goodbye e-tolls – Gauteng borrowing billions to shut down tolling system in March

The Gauteng government has “approached financial institutions” in an effort to raise funds to cover its contractual obligations with regard to settling its portion of e-toll debt and interest obligations, which totals approximately R12.9 billion, said MEC Jacob Mamabolo.

Additionally, the provincial government is on the hook for R4.1 billion in road maintenance backlogs, which it said it is allowed to pay over four years starting in 2025, which will enable it to avoid borrowing more money.

“This demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that the province’s commitment to comply with national treasury requirements and bring us closer to exiting the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project is right here,” said Mamabolo.

“Come the 31st [of March], come the new financial year, e-tolls will be things of the past.”

As part of the winding down, statutory authorities at the National Treasury, the National Department of Transport, and the National Roads Agency will now commence with the necessary steps to cease the collection of e-tolls and gazette the legislation to de-link the tolling system before the deadline.

“Fourteen days after the publishing of the deregulation gazette, Gauteng road users will no longer be charged for the use of Gauteng freeways,” said Mamabolo.

The e-toll gantries will remain operational, however, and will now be used for “other law enforcement purposes” instead of billing motorists, so the blue lights and cameras won’t disappear from highways completely.

Road users can continue to use their e-tags at all other plazas in the country as long as their accounts are still active.

“Further details on this process will be communicated to all road users in due course,” said the minister.

R37.5 billion allocated to Gauteng roads

The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has been allocated a total of R9.4 billion between 2024 and 2025, and another R28.1 billion for the three years thereafter, which will be spent on the completion of road upgrade projects and the introduction of new number plates with track-and-trace features, said Mamabolo.

According to Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, the National Transport Department has drawn up a draft legislation on the new number plates which must be signed off by the minister of transport before they can be introduced to the province, which is expected to happen within the next few months.

Of this substantial sum, R12.1 billion is being made available by the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport for, among other things, provincial road maintenance and public transport improvements through various grant schemes.

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