WHY THIS PROJECT?
Commuters from Pretoria North suburbs have requested a strategic intervention from OUTA to investigate and if necessary, challenge SANRAL and their toll concession partners regarding the existence of the Zambezi and Stormvoel Toll Plazas (Tshwane North) for a number of reasons, to ensure that;-
- the decision to introduce these toll plazas was conducted lawfully
- current socio-economic impact on commuters is fair, equitable and just
- undue enrichment of toll concession for the disproportional use of route length
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?
- Commuters who use the N1 Route between the suburbs of Tshwane North (Lindopark, East Lynne, Waverley, Montana, Zambezi Country Estate and Derdepoort), and places of employment, sports, education, worship in and around Pretoria are complaining of growing traffic congestion as a result of the toll plazas at Stormvoel and Zambezi, which adds an extra 40 – 60 minutes to their journey in their daily commute each way.
- In addition to the congestion, the toll fees for each direction are between R7.80 (Stormvoel) and R9.50 (Zambezi) which equates to between R330 and R400 per month, which many believe to be excessive for the short distance travelled on this stretch of the Bakwena N1 toll road (3km at Stormvoel and 7km at Zambezi).
- Commuters are forced to use the electronic “e-Toll” tags in order to access the “Shesha” lanes and qualify for resident’s discount. This automatically binds them into the Gauteng e-Toll project without their consent. Many feel their resistance to paying e-Tolls is justified.
- These toll plazas are placed on urban commuter routes with limited viable alternatives and commuters should not be subjected to a user-pays mechanism.
HOW OUTA INTENDS TO TACKLE THIS MATTER
Research is required to clearly define the parameters of the problem, clarify assumptions, and identify options that secure a felt sense of justice and fairness for the approximately 60,000 motorists who are tolled at these plazas.
We intend to use all avenues available to society in order to question, challenge and remove the toll plazas and/or costs of tolling should the issues and reasons for tolling justify this action.
Our research intends to expose any unjust interests are at stake and to open the channels for transparency. In doing so, OUTA will assemble accurate information and facts about the history and current realities of the problem, the possibilities of a negotiated solution. I need be, legal remedies will be investigated as a final resort.
We will engage with the local community impacted by the toll plazas as well as the Bakwena toll concessionaires and SANRAL. This will be done through a variety of channels, including social media, journalists, parliament and other constitutional measures.
In all instances, we intend to follow a process of constructive engagement with all stakeholders to ensure the best outcomes for all parties concerned.