E-tolls to go live on 3 December
The implementation date of the controversial e-toll system is 3 December 2013.
PRETORIA - Minister of Transport Dipou Peters at a special briefing today announced that the e-toll system will officially go live on 3 December 2013.
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has halved the cost of tariffs to motorists who have registered and received their e-tags.
The minister said, "We acted as a responsible government. We have learned many lessons from listening to the public."
According to the Peters, the highway network was a "ticking time bomb waiting to explode" and
"reaching crisis point".
Before making the announcement Peters said, "Gauteng is the economic hub of the country. Growth can't happen without infrastructure, including roads."
A Twitter storm has erupted after the announcement with the majority of the public condemning the system:
so #Etolls to go ahead?? nice 1 ANC, nice!! i refuse to pay a cent!! u madirs can come knock on my door and all u'll get is a big UP YOURS!!
- Fayyaz (@Fayu09) November 20, 2013
#etolls Gauteng its time to stand up for one another regardless of political affiliations.
- Kamohelo Mokhethi (@KamoheloM) November 20, 2013
- Lumkile Mbele™ (@lumza_3) November 20, 2013
Anybody wanna take a bet that Cosatu will have the mother of all drive slows and protests on 3 December? #etolls
- Brett P (@btp34) November 20, 2013
#Etolls.Hope Our government can be so convincing also with declaring why Nkandla was first build with TAX PAYERS MONEY.this is ANC FOR YOU
- Bojosi Ngobeza (@BNgobeza) November 20, 2013
The multibillion rand project has been shrouded in controversy and was at the centre of a lengthy but unsuccessful legal battle by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).
Outa abandoned its legal battle last month after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed its bid to stop e-tolling, saying it was too late to do so.
"We have been involved in a number of processes over the last few months, including public consultation processes where members of the public were required to send written comment to us with regards to the toll tariffs," says the department's Tiyani Rikhotso.
Critics say Sanral isn't ready to handle the kind of volume of transactions required to run the system.
Meanwhile, a new legal bid to stop e-tolling has been launched by the Democratic Alliance (DA), but a date is yet to be allocated for the hearing.
The party is attacking a technicality relating to how the e-toll bill was handled in Parliament and whether there was enough consultation.
The DA believes it can prove the handling of bill was unconstitutional.
In September, President Jacob Zuma signed the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill into law which effectively gave the green light for the controversial system to be implemented.