There are no sufficient alternative routes available from Pretoria to Johannesburg, a public hearing on the e-tolling of Gauteng highways heard yesterday.

“Going from OR Thambo I have to ask which is the alternative route?” asked Primedia Broadcasting head Yusuf Abramjee, speaking in his capacity as a resident of Pretoria.

He argued that the R55 and the R511 were said to be alternative roads, but were in dismal conditions. “Let me put it bluntly: the [R55] is in a very poor state.”

The hearing is being held to give affected parties an opportunity to share with the government their views about the proposed e-tolling.

Abramjee said capping tolls at R550 a month was small comfort. This was a large amount of money for many people and would make life harder for them day by day.

He called being taxed on urban roads an unjust law. “Do the right thing. Postpone it and listen to the people,” he said.

In October, the Transport Department instructed the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to suspend all processes related to the tolling of national roads.

The suspension included the planned phase two of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan, the Cape Winelands and the Wild Coast.

Transport Department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said phase one was almost complete and that the department wanted to hear alternative views from the public on the best possible model of financing the debt.

Last month, the government and Sanral announced new tariffs for e-tolling of Gauteng's freeways.