The decision on whether to toll Gauteng’s main highways will be announced later this year, the Department of Transport said on Wednesday.
Departmental spokesperson Collen Msibi said the matter had gone to Cabinet and some issues were raised for finalisation.
“We are waiting for Sanral [the South African National Roads Agency] and the Gauteng province to finalise these matters and then the minister [of transport] will be making an announcement.”
On Wednesday, Beeld newspaper reported that motorists would be charged 50c per kilometre to use the main highways in Gauteng if it was decided to toll the roads.
Msibi said the figure was speculative. “Finality on those matters have still to be wrapped up,” he said in response to the story.
The newspaper reported that regular road users would receive a discount of 40%. This would mean that motorists who travelled from Pretoria to Johannesburg on the N1 each day (about a 100km round-trip) would have to pay R600 a month in toll fees.
Sanral could not immediately be reached for comment.
AfriForum said on Wednesday the tolling of highways would be to the detriment of all road users.
Deputy chief executive Alana Bailey said: “The average South African worker already pays 25% of their income in direct taxes and a further 25% in indirect taxes. To expect of him/her to pay even more in the shape of such absurdly high toll fees is unacceptable.”
Bailey said tolls would affect not only Gauteng’s road users, but all South Africans.
“If these toll levies were to be implemented, it would hit the poorest of the poor the hardest. In the end, consumers will have to absorb the toll fees and we therefore can expect nationwide increases in food and building costs, to name but a few examples.”
She said that AfriForum would appeal to Sanral to reconsider the proposed tolls.
“As part of the appeal a campaign has been launched which invites members of the public to add their inputs in this regard to AfriForum’s appeal.”—Sapa
Those who wish to contribute to the AfriForum appeal can send their contact details to [email protected]