Minister to announce e-toll launch date

Gantries may go live in December, but the Transport Dept could wait until 2014.

Gantries might go live in December, but the Transport Dept could wait until 2014. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng motorists and the rest of the country will know in just a few hours exactly when e-tolling will be launched.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters is scheduled to make an announcement this morning.

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.

The Transport Department's Tiyani Rikhotso says the launch date is not the only issue the minister will deal with.

"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."

There have been suggestions the gantries will go live on 2 December, but the department may also choose to wait until next year.

Critics say the South African National Roads Agency Limited isn't ready to handle the kind of volume of transactions required to run the system.

After today's announcement, this claim will finally be put to the test.

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.