In January 2024, Lesufi confirmed nearly R6.9 billion must be refunded to motorists. Photo: Sanral/ X

E-tolls will finally be ‘switched off’, no details on refunds

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has declared that the controversial e-tolls will soon “be history in our province.”


In January 2024, Lesufi confirmed nearly R6.9 billion must be refunded to motorists. Photo: Sanral/ X

During his State of the Province Address address on Monday, Lesufi said that the process to switch off and remove e-tolls from the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) will commence on March 31, 2024.

E-tolls refer to the electronic toll collection system implemented on certain major highways in the Gauteng province. It was launched in 2013 with the aim of raising funds to maintain and improve GFIP.

E-tolls have faced widespread public opposition due to perceived high costs and lack of transparency.

Refunds for motorists

Lesufi did not provide specifics on refunds for motorists who paid e-tolls during his address, as promised previously.

It also remains uncertain where Gauteng will find the funds to cover its e-toll debt or future GFIP maintenance costs.

Meetings were held last month with concerned parties, including Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga. An agreement was reached to begin the formal process of dismantling e-tolls by March 31, 2024.

According to Moneyweb, Godongwana is expected to elaborate further, likely during his budget speech on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: E-tolls: Are you lawfully entitled to a refund?

The talks stem from Godongwana’s announcement in October 2022 that Gauteng agreed to cover 30% of the South African National Roads Agency’s (Sanral) GFIP debt.

This debt amounts to R12.9 billion, while national government is expected to cover the rest.

Additionally, it was said during that announcement that Gauteng would fund GFIP maintenance and future investments using toll infrastructure or other revenue sources.

Mixed messages

In October 2023, Lesufi refuted claims of refunding motorists who paid e-tolls. However, in January 2024, he confirmed nearly R6.9 billion must be refunded.

Lesufi added that Gauteng’s decision to take over GFIP national roads aims to prevent debt escalation.

Future arrangements may involve transferring responsibility back to Sanral and additional funding from the National Treasury for road management, he said.