Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on Monday said the province was “not opposed to the idea of tolling as a cost recovery mechanism” but was concerned about how charges would be determined.
Mokonyane was concerned over the “manner it the tolling system is to be implemented”, including its pricing and the impact on the economy of the Gauteng province.
She announced that she would meet Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele on February 22 to “explore alternative options in the best interests of commuters and the state”.
Delivering the state of the province address, she said the Gauteng provincial government was not consulted on the contentious system to be implemented later this year.
“We have observed with serious concerns the announcement on the implementation of the tolling strategy which has been made in isolation from a comprehensive, viable, public transport plan and with a lack of consultation, in particular with the Gauteng provincial government.
“We support the need for public consultation and the need for an affordable, reliable and safe public transport system, including the use of tolling as a cost recovery mechanism.”
A joint statement on the outcome of the talks would be released after the meeting on Tuesday.
The announcement of the new tolling system sparked a public outcry with consumer groups and unions claiming the poor would be the hardest hit.
The ANC leadership in Gauteng - who are expected to meet their national counterparts in the party on the system - announced that it would form a task team to examine the impact of the tolls.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions in Gauteng said it would submit a section 77 notice opposing the tolling system to the National Economic Development and Labour Council.
The ANC ally said it would fight the system “tooth and nail”, through among other things, mass demonstrations, a stay-away and possibly a strike.
Cosatu provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile on Friday said neither the alliance partners nor the ANC in the province were consulted on the system, they were briefed about it at the end of 2010.
Earlier this month, the SA National Roads Agency Limited announced that motorists could expect to pay 66 cents a kilometre before discounts when travelling on the 185km route.
Motorists who purchased the e-tag system would pay 49.5 cents a kilometre.
Medium-sized vehicles with the e-tag system would be charged R1.49 a kilometre and heavy-duty vehicles with an e-tag R2.97 a kilometre.
Motorists would get further discounts depending on when they used the highway and on whether they were frequent users.
Users of the 185-kilometre system would not have to stop at a traditional toll booth, but drive under gantries fitted with electronic equipment and cameras.
The gantries are between five kilometres and 14 kilometres apart.
The transport ministry has defended the system with Ndebele reportedly urging people who did not like it, to use public transport. - Sapa