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'SA will be in serious trouble if e-toll debt not settled'

Nazir Alli says other funding methods like a fuel levy increase would adversely impact poorer South Africans.

Sanral CEO Nazir Alli. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says South Africa will be in

"serious trouble" if the existing e-tolling debt is not settled.

The roads agency has defended the implementation of tolling in Gauteng, saying while government may have covered initial road upgrades, there isn't enough state money to maintain the highways.

Sanral Chief Executive Officer Nazir Alli earlier told the e-tolls review panel in Pretoria that other funding methods like a fuel levy increase would adversely impact poorer South Africans even more than e-tolling does.

The panel was established by Gauteng Premier David Makhura to assess the economic and social impact of e-tolls on motorists in the province.

Yesterday, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said the tolling of Gauteng's highways was the brainchild of the provincial government in 1996 and not a national plan that was imposed on the province.

Peters dismissed criticism that government has been insensitive to the concerns of the community.

The minister said she hopes her department's engagement with the panel will address half-truths, and settle lies.

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