‘E-toll launch decision won’t be revisited’
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters says the decision to launch e-tolls won’t be revisited.
JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has warned that the decision to launch e-tolling in Gauteng will not be reversed or revisited.
The minister said on Thursday her department would soon start advertising proposed e-toll tariffs for public consultation and would, in the third week of November, announce the exact date when the gantries would go live.
Peters said people who did not want to pay should use public transport or find alternative roads.
But she said motorists who registered early would get a discount.
"If you are not tagged, you will be penalised by paying more. Get the tag. It makes it easier for you to move easily. You want world-class infrastructure, but you don't want to pay for it."
POSSIBLE E-TOLL BACKLASH
Earlier on Thursday, government said it was not panicked about the possibility of people rebelling against e-tolling.
Acting Cabinet spokeswoman Phumla Williams told journalists the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) reported hundreds of thousands of motorists had already registered their vehicles.
Cabinet welcomed President Jacob Zuma signing the e-tolling law into effect, as well as the Supreme Court of Appeal's dismissal of the Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa)'s e-toll challenge earlier this week.
Williams said, "Cabinet urges all the motorists who frequently use the Gauteng freeways to register with the system and purchase their e-tags so as to enjoy the discounted tariffs."
She said the government had heard people's concerns by introducing a cap on monthly toll fees, shielding the poor with exemptions for public transport and giving transport companies a rebate.
Williams added that Sanral had reported that 608,000 vehicles were already registered and this did not indicate signs of a major boycott.
"At this point we are not in a panic that people are going to be rebelling."
'AGGRESSION TO SOCIETY'
Outa says Sanral's plans to enforce e-tolling through criminal prosecution amounts to 'aggression against society'.
Outa on Thursday responded to the Supreme Court of Appeal's dismissal of its legal bid to stop the multibillion rand project.
The organisation has accused the court of 'closing its eyes' to the merits of the case, saying it has failed to protect society against an illegal scheme.
Outa further says it believes it has grounds to appeal the judgment at the Constitutional Court. But for this it would need both a mandate from members and funding.
Chairperson Wayne Duvenage says a decision on whether to continue the legal fight will be made next week.
"They are going to arrest and use force with a 240 vehicle police squad out there. Is this the kind of relationship that government wants to have with its people? This is aggression expressed toward society."
Duvenage has challenged Sanral to clarify the technical details around how the e-tolling will be enforced.