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Mixed reactions to new Gauteng e-toll model

There has been anger from a number of quarters following government's decision to retain e-tolls.

FILE: Cosatu members took part in a drive-slow protest in 2013. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - There has been harsh reaction from a number of quarters following the decision by government to keep e-tolls but reduce the amounts charged.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced a new cap and revised tariffs which will come into effect within the next three months.

Ramaphosa said there was good news for motorists.

"A single reduced tariff will apply to all motorists and the current standard tariff of 50 cents for light motor vehicles will be reduced to 30 cents per kilometre."

The monthly cap has also been reduced from R450 to R225 a month.

Users will also benefit from 30 free gantry passes a year.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says adjustments to the fees are in line with what the premier's assessment panel recommended.

A panel was set up by Makhura to look into the socio-economic impact of the multi-billion rand system.

The premier's spokesperson Thabo Masebe says all parties who made contributions last year indicated that they didn't mind paying for the upgraded roads.

"The Gauteng government, the national government and the users will pay at a reduced cost. There is now only one tariff system."

But the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance's Wayne Duvenage has lashed out at government for trying to make the system more "attractive" for motorists.

"They haven't lowered the tariff but have lowered the cap, so you have to ask yourself what has really changed, and the answer is being given reprieve on the outstanding debt."

Former Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says he is deeply disappointed as he truly believed government would listen to the public by scrapping the system.

"They are trying to mislead the public into thinking that they have listened to their concerns when they have made the concession that is meaningless because we are fighting the principle of user pays."

LISTEN: Vavi on the new e-tolls scheme.

E-toll revenue has been in decline since last year and e-tag registrations have plummeted.

Public transport, including buses and taxis which have permits, will remain exempted.

Ramaphosa says the new dispensation will be implemented in phases, with a revised cap to be implemented in the next two to three months.

_To read the full statement by Ramaphosa on the dispensation model for e-tolls, _ click here.