Department to oppose new toll roads
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport said on Sunday it would continue to oppose any plans to install toll roads along the Wild Coast.
City Press reported on Sunday that opposition to e-tolling had had a knock-on effect on tolling – a “well-placed senior government source” was quoted as saying plans for new toll roads around Cape Town and in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were set to be shelved. “The public protest was successful in this respect,” the source said.
Last week, Cosatu led a national protest calling for the scrapping of the e-tolling system and a ban on labour broking.
Kwanele Ncalane, spokesman for the department, said that while the department agreed that the N2 corridor from eManzimtoti to the Eastern Cape needed to be upgraded, he said the people of KZN should not pick up the tab for it.
“We felt that Sanral (the SA National Roads Agency Limited) must look at other options to get the funding either from the Department of Transport or Treasury, but we don’t think the people of KZN are prepared to pay so much for tolling.”
Sanral proposes seven main toll plazas: three south of Durban along the South Coast, and 11 ramp plazas. The only new toll road that would proceed would be the N2 in the Eastern Cape. But only two tollbooths would be built, one at each end of the road, so local traffic would not have to pay.
Earlier this year, three big Durban-based businesses – Toyota SA Motors, the Southgate Business Park and the Umbogintwini Industrial Association – lodged papers in the Pretoria High Court to challenge the authorisation process of the new Wild Coast toll road, which will rely on funding from Durban road users. The companies had asked the court to review the decision by Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa to allow Sanral to continue with the toll road, despite objections.
The minister and Sanral have opposed the motion.
The businesses argue that a social and economic assessment of the impact that tolling would have on people and businesses in the Durban South Basin should have been done.
Toyota, the businesses at Southgate Business Park and Umbogintwini Industrial Association, as well as other big businesses in the area, the eThekwini Municipality and the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry have objected to the proposal, based on the economic and social hardships it would mean for business and the effects it would have on employees, contractors and the community.
Ted Holden, chairman of the Upper South Coast Toll Focus Group and Alliance, said they would welcome any plans to shelve the toll road on the N2. - Daily News