All the signs point to more e-tolls

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IOL mot pic mar5 Toll Plaza INLSA With provinces ready to hand over major roads to Sanral, more tolling may be on the cards. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Cape Town - With some provinces ready to hand over thousands of kilometres of roads - both existing tarmac and planned construction - to the South African National Roads Agency Limited, further tolling may be on the cards.

Styling these road ‘hand-overs’ in the Free State, Eastern Cape and North West as a move in support of creating transport corridors for economic development, transport minister Dipuo Peters did not rule out further tolling yesterday.

“It’s not a matter of to toll or not to toll,” Peters said, adding the question was whether the development of road and rail networks would benefit the country.

“Whether roads should be tolled or not, comes later.

“If there’s a need for tolling, that will be addressed as part of the process.”

Earlier, during the economic ministerial cluster briefing, Peters said it would require R150 billion to clear the roads backlog.

“If we don’t look at the user-pays-principle, were are going to take many, many years…” she said, appealing for citizens’ understanding.

The minister’s comments came as DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane went to the high court to challenge the constitutionality of the e-toll law.

When Sanral appeared to dust off its plans to toll highways around Cape Town last year, the city obtained a court interdict.

Of South Africa’s 3000km of tolled road, electronic tolling applied to just 201km, while Sanral was responsible for just over 19 700km of the country’s roads, according to official statistics.

Sanral received 86 percent of its finances from the national coffers and just 14 percent through user-pay systems.

Previously, the government mooted tolls on the N1 and N2 highways linking Cape Town to the rural hinterland and on the N2 between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Former transport minister Sibusisu Ndebele halted proposals to toll the N2 Wild Coast highway in 2011.

Cape Argus

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