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'Poor people shouldering burden of e-tolls'

David Makhura has released a report from the e-tolls assessment panel which includes over 50 recommendations.

FILE: An e-toll gantry on the N1 in Johannesburg. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura says national and provincial government will now have to consider hybrid funding models for e-tolling in a bid to solve problems of affordability and sustainability.

Makhura has released a report by the e-tolls assessment panel he established last year to assess the socio-economic impact of e-tolls on Gauteng motorists.

The report includes over 50 recommendations.

It suggests that low and middle income households are carrying too much of the burden of paying for Gauteng's upgraded highways.

Makhura says the e-toll assessment panel's report suggests that township-based enterprises are being forced to travel on tolled highways to do business in cities.

He said people who can only afford to live on the outskirts of the province are hit the hardest by e-tolling fees.

Makhura said the report will now be extensively discussed with national government in order to come up with a definite solution on how to pay back the South African National Road Agency Limited's debt and fund future road infrastructure.

The premier said motorists will still have to pay for the upgraded roads and one of the possible solutions to the problem is for everyone who uses them to pay a flat rate.

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.