The controversial bill will take a little longer to finalise because of a one-word change.
The Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill was discussed by the Select Committee on Public Services on Tuesday and a single word was changed.
The amendment, proposed by ANC MP Raseriti Tau, changes a section to say when the minister of transport makes a regulation in terms of the law, this must be submitted to parliament for “consideration” instead of “comment”.
Committee secretary Pilate Gwebu said the bill with the amendment had been approved unanimously by the committee. He said that because of the amendment, the bill would now go back to the National Assembly portfolio committee.
The bill amends the law to allow the electronic collection of tolls and the prosecution of those who fail to pay.
One alternative method of payment for the freeways that has been proposed by e-toll critics is a fuel levy.
Sanral’s Alex van Niekerk, the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project manager, said the Road Freight Association had calculated that an extra 13c/litre fuel levy would cost the trucking industry R700 million a year, whereas the e-tolls would be cheaper at R400 million.
Deputy minister of transport Sindisiwe Chikunga briefly joined the committee at the start, to introduce her new acting director-general, Dr Maria du Toit.
After the meeting, Du Toit and her department’s chief director for legal services, advocate Adam Masombuka, said the proclamation for the start of tolling would be gazetted after the bill was finalised. Revised toll charges must also be finalised.
After the committee meeting, the DA called the process “an utter disgrace” and said the bill was being rushed through without conventions being adhered to. - The Star