E-tolls panel recommends review of system

The e-tolls assessment panel has recommended a review of the controversial tolling system.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura and his team at the E-toll panel briefing on 15 January, 2015. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura has released a report by the e-tolls assessment panel he established last year, recommending a review of the system in its current form.

The panel assessed the socio-economic impact of the e-tolling system on motorists and business.

The e-tolls assessment panel made more than 50 recommendations, but one of its main findings was that the multi-billion rand project in its current form is unaffordable and inequitable.

The report highlights that low and middle income earners are carrying the burden for funding the upgraded roads.

Makhura said the e-tolls panel found that motorists are willing to pay for upgraded roads, but the current model of tolling is not affordable.

He said the system has been good for the economy but the province's poor have been hit the hardest.

"Public transport, issues of environmental sustainability are also dealt with in amongst the many recommendations, as well as issues of spatial integration."

Makhura said no matter what changes are made, the South African National Roads Agency Limited

(Sanral)'s debt must be paid back and motorists must continue paying to use the upgraded highways.

Makhura said a hybrid funding model that's affordable, that's equitable and that's also sustainable should be looked at.

Once the premier has concluded his meetings with national government, which are already underway, an announcement on the recommendations will be made.

The controversial system went live on 3 December, 2013 despite public outcry.