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Blade Nzimande: Govt hasn’t taken any decision to scrap e-tolls

The Transport Minister says continued refusal to pay e-tolls will lead to the deterioration of the road network and defaulting on the money borrowed to build them.

FILE: Transport Minister Blade Nzimande. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Transport Minister Blade Nzimande says the government has not taken any decision to scrap e-tolls.

Speaking in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, Nzimande said the government is of the view that those who derive direct economic benefit from the road network must pay to use it.

Nzimande says the government has already made several concessions to protect the poor and social users of the Gauteng freeways.

He says continued refusal to pay e-tolls will lead to the deterioration of the road network and defaulting on the money borrowed to build them.

Nzimande says with hindsight the model to pay for the roads could have been designed differently when the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project was first conceived, but there’s no going back now.

“How do we fund our highways in South Africa and our road infrastructure, generally? That’s the issue. And how do we pay the debt that we have at this point in time?”

Nzimande says he’s determined to engage all parties to find a solution before he places options before President Cyril Ramaphosa to resolve the impasse.

“And also, we do need to point out that as much as this matter started as a Gauteng issue, it’s now a national issue and it needs to be resolved at that level.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)