Waiting for the e-toll decision, while government allocates another R3.7bn to Gauteng’s e-toll roads
On Wednesday 26 October 2022, South Africa expects Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to announce a new mechanism to offset the defunct e-toll scheme that South African National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) has failed to implement successfully, in order to finance the overpriced Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
We have been promised a decision on the future of e-tolls and the GFIP funding since July 2019. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has repeatedly announced that a decision was imminent, with his latest promise that a decision will be forthcoming in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on 26 October.
While we’re waiting for the official dissolution of the e-toll scheme, Cabinet has effectively acknowledged the scheme’s failure through its allocation to Sanral of R22.4 billion since 2014 for the GFIP project, plus another allocation in July 2022 of R3.740 billion, with a likely addition of another R1.8 billion before the end of this year.
The extra allocation in 2022/23 is listed in the Sanral Integrated Report 2022, under events after the reporting period.
The report also notes that e-toll compliance is at 17.65% and that the scheme has run up R9.7 billion in uncollectable debt from motorists who have refused to pay their e-toll bills since December 2013.
The decision to end the e-toll scheme is one that Cabinet should have made years ago, and adopted the alternatives that civil society presented as far back as 2011. Had Cabinet done so, and not allowed the construction project to be excessively overpriced, the upgrade bonds would have been settled by today.
OUTA has been opposing the e-tolls for a decade. See more on OUTA's work on e-tolls, including an e-tolls chronology, here.
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