Panel to review e-tolls

Gauteng Premier David Makhura made the announcement during his inaugural Sopa this morning.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng government on Friday announced it would set up a panel to review the impact of e-tolls.

Many motorists are still refusing to pay bills since the system was implemented on provincial freeways in December.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura made the announcement during his inaugural State of the Province Address (Sopa) in Thokoza, south of Johannesburg, on Friday morning.

He said he still has to appoint panel members and outline the terms of reference.

Makhura said the panel will work with national government, municipalities and stakeholders to find a solution regarding the payment of tolls.

He said he views the matter as urgent.

"There are no easy solutions and no easy victories - it is a fundamental problem, that's why we can't close our eyes."

But he stopped short of clarifying whether the panel will consider scrapping the system altogether.

Makhura said he cannot guarantee any solution but will listen to the concerns of the people to find an outcome that suits everyone.

"We must make it clear that we can't close our eyes to cries of sectors of our population who are severely affected by the cost of travelling across the province."

He however emphasised Gauteng needed good roads, which must be financed.

Makhura had previously appeared to oppose e-tolls before becoming premier.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has welcomed Makhura's decision.

The alliance's Wayne Duvenage said the premier had gone on the record in the past as being against e-tolls.

"I think he realises as a premier the impact it is having on the province."

The controversial system went live on 3 December after months of legal wrangling, protests and calls for civil disobedience.