Motlanthe dispels fears of e-tolling burdens

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has allayed fears of massive economic burdens on Gauteng motorists.

Tolls sign. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Thursday allayed fears of food price hikes and massive economic burdens on Gauteng motorists with the introduction of e-tolling.

Motlanthe was speaking after the latest rounds of talks with various interested parties on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and the proposed tolling.

Last week, the Constitutional Court set aside an interim order putting the project on hold, because the North Gauteng High Court had not considered the separation of powers between the judiciary and the national executive.

Motlanthe said tolling is inevitable, but consensus has been reached in several areas with interested parties, particularly on the debt that needs to be settled.

"We have to find balanced sources of revenue to take care of that, which includes the electronic method of tolling."

E-tolling could see Gauteng motorists pay up to 35c per km to travel on the province's highways and revenue from the system will pay a R20 billion debt incurred to build the GFIP, the largest toll road in the country.

Motlanthe said food price inflation was a key concern.

"We are engaging with the Road Freight Association (RFA). They raise those kinds of concerns very sharply, and their concerns have been considered and responded to positively."

The deputy president said tariff details would only be released once discussions with all affected parties were concluded.

The Constitutional Court's ruling means e-tolling can theoretically be implemented immediately, until a full high court review of the project in November.