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'E-Toll saga threatens SA's credit rating'

Transport Minister warns no e-toll could affect SA's credit rating

Toll gantry on a Gauteng highway. Picture: SAPA

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's credit rating may be adversely affected should the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) fail to honour its debt, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele warned on Wednesday.

He delivered his budget vote in Parliament, where he urged Gauteng road users to pay toll fees.

Ndebele said the debt incurred by Sanral to conduct the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project could climb to R32 billion over the next few years.

The minister suggested if Sanral failed to service its debt, the country would suffer as its credit rating could be downgraded.

He said e-tolls would help Sanral pay its debt.

He pointed out that over 500,000 Gauteng freeway users have already bought their e-tags.

Meanwhile, the case against the introduction of e-tolling is currently underway at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The court is hearing arguments for and against the controversial tolls.

Earlier, Judge Bill Prinsloo ruled in favour of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) by granting an urgent interdict.

Outa took Sanral to court in a bid to stop Monday's implementation of e-tolls.

Under the project, Gauteng motorists will pay around 30 cents per kilometre to use some of the province's highways.