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Ramaphosa: Sanral owes R20 billion

The deputy president says the national and Gauteng fiscus will provide funds to close the gap.

FILE: South African deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) owes about R20 billion, but there has been a positive response from the public since the change in e-toll fees.

He gave the figure in the National Assembly this afternoon while answering a follow-up question about the new e-toll road dispensation.

He told Members of Parliament the government had heeded concerns about the burden of high e-toll fees on middle- and lower-income households and therefore government decided to reduce the cap from R450 to R225.

Ramaphosa says the national and Gauteng fiscus will provide funds to close the gap.

"Sanral owes something like R20 billion and the money has been raised through a variety of bonds that have certain time frames."

Ramaphosa has defended Gauteng's e-tolls, saying that governments sometimes have to take decisions in the interest of all citizens.

"At times they do take an unpopular decision with a view of advancing the view of the many and this is precisely what has had to happen."

He says the new e-tolls dispensation eases what was found to be a disproportionate financial burden on lower and middle-income households, while exempting the poor.

"The new dispensation dramatically reduces the costs of all motorists travelling on Gauteng's freeways. It doesn't penalise people who don't have e-tags."

In May Ramaphosa ended months of speculation, announcing a new model for e-tolls which would see many costs for consumers halved.

BIG DROP IN E-TOLL REGISTRATIONS

Last month, the Department of Transport revealed that there had been a dramatic drop in the number of people registering for e-tolls.

Around 26,000 e-tags were sold in January while only 20,000 were sold in April, the department said in response to a parliamentary question.

When the controversial system was first launched, Sanral claimed it registered as many as 350,000 e-tags in a single month.

The answers further revealed a steady drop in the revenue collected versus the spike in forecast figures.

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