E-toll beeps will officially come to an end on Friday

E-toll gantries on the N1 through Johannesburg. | Jeffrey Abrahams Independent Newspapers

E-toll gantries on the N1 through Johannesburg. | Jeffrey Abrahams Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 10, 2024


Come Friday, e-toll beeps will officially be a thing of the past, however, motorists will still see invoices coming into their inboxes after the fact.

On Thursday, Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga provided an update in Pretoria on future plans following the decision by the national government to officially scrap e-tolls in Gauteng.

On March 28, the government gazetted a notice concerning the withdrawal of the Toll Declaration of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), popularly known as e-tolls, effective as of midnight on April 11.

Chikunga said coming to the decision was not an easy process, as the reasoning behind the implementation of the tolls came as a result of the government seeking to address extreme road congestion and the negative effect it had on the country’s economy and the Gauteng economy in particular.

She asserted that e-tolls were only implemented after some consultation, however, she admitted that given the resistance by Gauteng motorists and various other stakeholders, further consultations should have been sought.

The outrage over the e-tolls resulted in President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019 charging her alongside Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and the Gauteng Premier to find a solution to the impasse over e-tolls, something which the minister said was no easy feat.

Chikunga said the officials had to figure out how the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) was going to repay the debt incurred to build the infrastructure while simultaneously addressing the backlog of maintenance and rehabilitation costs of roads in the province.

Thankfully, the minister said, the three heads were able to reach an agreement with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed at the end of March.

Through the MOA, Chikunga said alternative funding solutions for the GFIP debt repayment was formalised and plans instituted on how to deal with the backlog of maintenance and rehabilitation.

Furthermore, it would also regulate the financial and funding contributions towards the central liability in compliance with the policy objectives and institutional framework for road infrastructure management in South Africa.

“We’re unambiguous on the fact that the user-pays principle policy remains a government policy and commit to continually engage and work together to explore adequate and sustainable funding solutions for road construction, road maintenance and road upgrades to support economic development.”

Having resolved its long outstanding application for increased borrowing limits from the Treasury, Sanral would, according to the transport minister, henceforth, be able to approach the market to unlock funding from the private sector to fund its existing pipeline of capital expenditure projects.

“We hope that the resolution of the GFIP funding and the resultant withdrawal of e-tolls will give Gauteng motorists in particular and South Africans in general certainty after a long period of uncertainty.

From April 12, road users will no longer be charged for the use of the Gauteng e-toll roads, but the obligation to pay e-tolls remains until midnight on April 11.

“Due to potential delays by the postal system, invoices will still be received some time after April 12, however, no transactions post midnight on April 11 will appear on the invoice or statement.”

Despite scrapping e-tolls, its infrastructure such as the gantry lights and cameras would remain on for road safety purposes but also crime fighting efforts.

The e-toll branding will be removed in phases, however, e-tolling invoices will be rolled out until the last day and issued up until this period.

“We trust that the public realises that the government listens and where possible it will act to resolve issues that affect the public.

“We understand that the resolution of this issue might have taken longer than some people wanted but it involved complex negotiations as we had entered into a contract which was handled in a mature and professional manner by all concerned.”

The Star