Transport minister distances himself from e-tolls 'dismal failure' report
Transport minister Joe Maswanganyi on Tuesday refuted a media report that government has proposed new laws “following the dismal failure of e-tolling revenue collection from Gauteng motorists who owe more that R6bn in unpaid tolls”.
Maswanganyi was responding to a front page article published by The Star newspaper on Monday, August 28.
“The article is disingenuous and misleads the public about government’s position on the tolling policy, the Sanral Act and the National Land Transport Act,” he said in a statement.
He said his department understands that the proposed amendment is by the Democratic Alliance and will be raised as a private member’s bill in Parliament.
“Presenting the bill as an initiative of the Department of Transport, the executive and Sanral is both mischievous and misleading,” he said.
Maswanganyi said he had indicated during his department’s 2017/2018 budget vote that Sanral is in the process of developing a long term strategy, Horizon 2030, aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP).
“The strategy will enable the development of a 2030 Roads Plan and will review Sanral’s operating model. Also, the new strategy will trigger the development of a new toll roads policy which the Department of Transport will lead,” he said.
‘A failed e-Natis system’
He also accused Outa chair Wayne Duvenage of being “economic with the truth when he insinuates that the e-Natis has failed”.
Duvenage had reportedly said the amendments would protect motorists.
“It will be better if the consultations are done by the National Council of Provinces [NCOP] and provinces which are affected. This will mean the public is consulted meaningfully, unlike in the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project - which is why it failed.
“We have a failed e-Natis system and we have problems with the administration of traffic fines, and so we believe the context of the environment is one which e-tolling will fail in South Africa,” he was quoted as saying.
Maswanganyi said Duvenage knows that government has been in control of e-Natis following the Constitutional Court ruling in favour of the department.
“The department has since taken the decision that the Road Traffic Management Corporation [RTMC] is the preferred entity to take over the running of the system from Tasima.
“The Court pronouncement on November 9, 2016 granted the Department of Transport and the RTMC leave to terminate the illegal and irregular extension of the Tasima contract,” he said.
On April 7 this year, the Gauteng High Court confirmed the ruling of the Constitutional Court in favour of the Department of Transport, according to Maswanganyi.