'E-tolling may lead people into debt'

Motorists will soon be forced to pay to drive on Gauteng’s highways.

Cosatu members prepare for the drive-slow protest on 31 May 2013 by attaching anti-e-toll banners onto their cars. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Concerns have been raised that the imminent implementation of e-tolling could see a spike in the number of South Africans seeking debt counselling and could push middle class families into poverty.

President Jacob Zuma has now signed into law a bill which frees up the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to launch the multibillion Rand project.

Although no exact date has been given, it is expected e-tolling will come online within a month.

Debt Rescue's Neil Roets says the system could be the final straw for many.

"We've got a lot of middle income consumers who are going to be hard hit and perhaps pushed back into poverty because of this extra burden on them on a monthly basis."

The Supreme Court of Appeal has reserved judgment on a legal challenge against e-tolling.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) believes e-tolling is not the answer.

The group wants Sanral to come up with other ways of paying for the highways.