e-tolls prasa

Photo: Siyabonga Africa / Flickr

Motorists, rejoice: E-tolls may be crawling closer to their expiry date

The ANC’s appetite to scrap e-tolls has intensified: A change of transport ministers has helped, and Fikile Mbalula is open to binning them.

e-tolls prasa

Photo: Siyabonga Africa / Flickr

We all know that Fikile Mbalula can get a little excited sometimes, but his recent promise to consider scrapping the dreaded e-tolls in Gauteng came from a place of genuine, measured consideration.

Fikile Mbalula on e-tolls

The new transport minister told SABC that scrapping the gantries would indeed be an option on the table for his department. He has cautiously promised a swift response to the matter and seems much more willing to budge than his predecessor Blade Nzimande on this issue:

“We need to find a solution. We’re addressing the matter very soon. One of the solutions could be that we get rid of them, but we need to consider how we pay the debt off. The strategic goal is to ensure South Africans are part of the solution. It’s not an easy thing to fix. But people aren’t paying and the debt keeps growing.”

Fikile Mbalula

Desperate times for SANRAL

SANRAL, the branch of government responsible for inflicting e-tolls upon Gauteng’s motorists, are up a certain kind of creek without a paddle. They are more than R11 billion in debt, and their toll plaza brainwave has crippled the department: E-tolls haven’t generated the forecast revenue, because motorists are refusing to comply.

About 75% of road users in the province simply do not pay their tariffs. It has made a mockery of the system, and the pressure to bin these gates has been ramped up by the ANC’s political opponents.

DA to ratchet-up the pressure on e-tolls

Fred Nel is Gauteng’s Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport, and he’s revealed that the DA will prioritise the fight to scrap e-tolls for good. He’ll be raising the issue as soon as the provincial government is back in session next week:

“If the Minister of Transport is serious about scrapping e-tolls he needs to give us a clear timeline as to when this will happen. It is clear that this system is not working and needs to be scrapped. I’ ll be tabling questions in the Legislature to ascertain what the plan is to deal with e-tolls.”

Fred Nel

Despite mixed messages coming from the ANC, there is at least a certain appetite within the party to dismiss e-tolls from our roads. The change in transport ministers looks like it will be a huge boost for anti-toll activists, who will now be canvassing someone that agrees the gantries are a spent force.