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Toll fees 'reprieve' for motorists

By Thabo Mokone and Caiphus Kgosana | Feb 23, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 261 ]

Cosatu sticks to its guns, encourages drivers not to pay

GAUTENG motorists have been granted a reprieve from freeway toll fees.

A new fee structure announced by government proposes that tolls for regular users of freeways be capped at R550.

Commuter taxis and buses will be exempt from paying toll fees, while a 20% discount will be introduced for heavy-duty vehicles that travel on the highways outside of peak traffic hours.

The proposed new price structure was announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan at a press briefing just before tabling his budget in Parliament.

But trade union federation Cosatu, a fierce opponent of the toll fees, has stuck to its guns, saying the proposed fee structure remained unaffordable.

Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi reiterated his call for motorists to drive through the toll without paying immediately after the tabling of the budget. He said the planned strike against the toll fees next month would remain in place and another one would take place in April.

"We will not compromise, we just don't have the R500 to pay ... it's not good enough.

"To our people, don't buy those e-tags. Defy this thing, drive through the public roads. We will not be used as a cash-cow to profit some foreign investors," said Vavi.

In terms of the new price regime, the per-kilometre fee for private motorists goes down from 66c to 30c for those that purchase e-tags from roads agency Sanral. Frequent users now have their toll-fees capped at R550 per month, no matter how often they travel on Gauteng's freeways. They will also qualify for a 15% discount when their toll-fee account accumulates to R400 in a single month.

Motorbikes will now be charged 20c per kilometre per trip, smaller trucks have to fork out 75c per kilometre on Gauteng freeways, and bigger-size trucks a whopping R1.51c per kilometre.

Heavy-duty vehicles will benefit from a 20% discount for using the freeways outside morning and afternoon peak hours. Tolling will start on April 30.

The planned tolling of Gauteng freeways was introduced to help Sanral pay back more than R59-billion that it has borrowed to upgrade roads nationally. Gauteng freeways alone have cost Sanral R20-billion to upgrade.

The Automobile Association has threatened to take government to court over the planned tolling of freeways.

Raymond Parsons, the deputy CEO of Business lobby group BUSA, yesterday welcomed the new fee structure as a compromise, saying government had come a long way to meet the demands of various groups.

Unhappiness over the plan prompted government to put the implementation of the toll fees on hold while it embarked on a frantic search for a solution.

Gordhan described the new price plan as "extremely generous" and a demonstration that government does listen to the concerns of its citizens. "This is the best that that government can do ... it's a demonstration of government's commitment to coming to the party where it can find the means."

He said government was now appealing to all concerned parties to seriously consider the new price plan.

Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said government would direct some of the R5-billion refund it received from the aborted sale of Airbus aircraft by arms manufacturer Armscor towards Sanral to help it repay its loans.

Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele said Gauteng would prioritise the rejuvenation of the R55 and R101 routes between Johannesburg and Pretoria, which would be used by motorists who could not afford the freeway toll fees.

COMMENTS [ 261 ]

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@zaco

KatakataEmaotoAditshepe
Le jwalo he batho ba Gauteng le ya tseba ho itshwareletsa ka corruption.E tla be e jewe ke lona chelete eo.
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please! come on....

WORDY.....please bua le ntateona_
, Eish basotho le di kefa tse kiima......menagano e skars!
==================

Current >!

Feb 23, 2012 12:42 | 0 replies

WordofGod

Yes! wordy...wordy..Are u well sisi!

Feb 23, 2012 12:20 | 0 replies

MommaC
We all know about the FIFA promise and the fact that it was just a jeeb. The promises made turned into a lot of losses and unnecessary unprojected future expenditure which we are still recovering from. So do not even mention FIFA in the same line with infrastructure upgrade.

Feb 23, 2012 12:20 | 0 replies

KatakataEmaotoAditshepe

you thinking cap fascinate me....keep explaining
What gives you confidence that the money generated from eTolls will be aloocated to road infrastructure maintenance??

Feb 23, 2012 12:19 | 0 replies

@kea
thola wena! o tsebang ka di toll gates? pere ya hao ha e patele toll gate mos!

Feb 23, 2012 12:19 | 0 replies

@zaco

KatakataEmaotoAditshepe
U keep complaining about potholes baba,they need money to be fixed kgosi.
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is JRA not allocated some funds from the municipality, does the pot hole issue qualify the implementation of e-tolls. make me understand...
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Potholes are still allover which tells that JRA doesnt generate enough money for the potholes and new ideas need to be brought forward,some of the E-Tolls that's perfect.

Feb 23, 2012 12:16 | 0 replies

zaco: I already do, lol.....

Feb 23, 2012 12:16 | 0 replies

Jaja'sQueen

hahahahahahahaaaaa..a.a.a.a.a.a.a...a.a....a......a!
today you forgot you thinking cap......ohhhh! i means u left your brain @ the trauma counselling room
LOL

Feb 23, 2012 12:15 | 0 replies

Jaja'sQueen
I am disappointed with you patriotic brother!
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i may be patriotic....not on my hard-earned moolas!! Get my gist!!

@RobinH
the middle class are gonna be cash-cows, the trend has been set in motion....we might as well work for the government.nxa

Feb 23, 2012 12:11 | 0 replies

zaco
Jaja'sQueen
@SeshegoGuY
Are you currently being over taxed?
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Yes! if you asked me....
Fringe benefits are taxed on average 45%_ i mean car allowance/ overtimes/ bonuses etc...please
______________________

Why did you say 'please' if you were not asking for help? Don't you think your salary would have assisted for me to assist?

Feb 23, 2012 12:9 | 0 replies

Jaja'sQueen

We already pay for the road with the fuel levy.
And what happened to the promise that Fifa was going to put money into the upgrades?
Everyone has a right to feel that an extra R6,600 a year is an expense they could do without.

Feb 23, 2012 12:9 | 0 replies