DA proposes changes to Sanral’s current toll road laws

The DA wants to force Sanral to consult provinces and local authorities when it wants to build a toll road.

FILE: Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) is proposing changes to the law, to force the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to consult provinces and local authorities when it wants to build a toll road; and to ensure there's a properly maintained alternative route.

The proposals are contained in a draft Private Members' Bill that seeks to amend the Sanral.

DA MP Manny de Freitas says the proposed changes aim to prevent a situation like that which has unfolded in Gauteng, where road-users are either refusing to pay or are being hit in the pocket by high toll fees.

De Freitas adds, "Our experience with e-tolls, particularly in Gauteng, has been that the public was not consulted sufficiently and the entire project was bulldozed and steam-rolled right through.

"The repercussions and the problems are still with us today because that initial proper consultation and required transparency wasn't in place."



'E-TOLLS HAVE HURT GAUTENG ECONOMY'

The DA says its proposed changes to the Sanral Act will ensure there's much wider consultation before any new toll roads are built.

The party intends tabling a Private Members' Bill to amend the law once Parliament reconvenes after the local government elections.

The DA says while e-tolls have hurt the Gauteng economy, adjacent provinces have also been affected.

De Freitas says a top-down approach to tolling can't be allowed to happen again, and that his private member's bill aims to compel Sanral to consult more broadly.

"Should an e-toll be proposed, the premier and the province be consulted, the relevant local authorities that are affected should be consulted as well and in both cases, the majority of those members should support such an e-toll project."

De Freitas adds his proposed changes to the Sanral Act will also make it mandatory that an alternative route be made available and properly maintained, so that those who don't want to pay won't be forced to do so.