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New transport minister inherits tolling fiasco

The newly appointed transport minister said he plans to engage with all those affected by e-tolling.

Newly appointed Transport Minister Ben Martins. Picture: GCIS.
President Jacob Zuma,SANRAL,Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan,etolling,OUTA,Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance,South African National Roads Agency Limited,Jeremy Cronin,Sbu Ndebele,Sibusiso Ndebele
Local Politics


JOHANNESBURG - Newly appointed Minister of Roads and Transport Ben Martins told Eyewitness News he will negotiate with all those affected by e-toll.

Martins was appointed on Tuesday after former minister Sibusiso Ndebele was moved to the Department of Correctional Services in a third cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma.

Former Deputy Transport Minister, Jeremy Cronin, was also moved.

Martins said it was too early for him to give any hints about what he would do about e-tolls.

“There is government policy in regard to this and like any other department; we have to engage with all our stakeholders in the best interests of the country.”

He said the announcement of his appointment was made while he was in Parliament, so he had to speak to journalists before he could tell his family.

Zuma has not given any reasons for this reshuffle, but Ndebele’s handling of the tolling fiasco could be the reason why he was moved.

TOLLING FIASCO

The Constitutional Court recently announced that it will decide on 15 August whether it will allow government to appeal an earlier decision to halt the implementation of e-tolling.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan appealed to the Constitutional Court to uplift an interdict against the implementation of the project. 

Gordhan said halting e-tolling could soon affect the economy negatively.

In 2007, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) took out an estimated R29 billion loan for road infrastructure. 

Government had planned to repay Sanral’s debt with funds collected from the Gauteng e-tolling system, which was due to be launched in April.

But the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) applied for an urgent interdict to halt the implementation of the e-tolling project, and the North Gauteng High Court granted it.

If implemented, e-tolling will see Gauteng motorists pay up to 35c/km to use some of the province's highways.

(Edited by Thato Motaung)

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