E-toll suspended, but account is not going to just disappear


Gauteng’s e-toll system may be a thing of the past, but motorists who still have outstanding debts for it may still have to cough up for it.

Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng Premier, and Sindisiwe Chikunga, Minister of Transport, emphasized on Wednesday at a joint media conference at the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) office in Centurion that the system will be switched off on Thursday evening.

The move follows years of opposition and thousands of motorists who refused to pay the e-toll.

However, Chikunga had bad news for those with so-called historical e-toll debt: According to the minister, legislation stipulates that any motorist who receives a bill for using a toll road is obliged to pay it.

“According to the law, motorists are still obliged to pay, the laws have not changed. How this will be enforced has yet to be discussed. If there are challenges, it is a matter we will look into,” says Chikunga.

Sindisiwe Chikunga, Panyaza Lesufi, Themba Mhambi, Reginald Demana, SANRAL, e-toll, Gauteng Premier, Minister of Transport, Department of Transport

Lesufi says a meeting is being held on the issue of arrears “with all relevant role players”. He also emphasized that it is a complicated issue.

“It’s not just that easy. People paid taxes on the money, transport companies were affected, cars changed hands; there are many role players who have to give input,” says Lesufi.

He also denied on Wednesday that he had ever promised that motorists, who had faithfully paid their e-tolls, would be refunded. According to the prime minister, he was wrongly quoted on this.

“The hitch with e-toll was lack of consultation from the start. Therefore, the payment or enforcement of debts must be subject to proper consultation so that people cannot again say that we make a decision without consulting.”

Once the final decision has been made, an official announcement will be made.

Motorists who have never paid e-toll and have overdue accounts will not be prosecuted in terms of a decision taken in 2019.

Lesufi says the suspension of the system brings an end to something that residents of the province never wanted in the first place.

The e-toll system was implemented on 3 December 2013 to pay off the debt of the Gauteng Highway Improvement Project (GFIP).

After this, motorists will no longer have to pay when they drive through an e-toll gate. The lights and cameras of these gates will remain on, but will henceforth be used as part of the province’s crime-fighting campaigns, according to Lesufi.

Sindisiwe Chikunga, Panyaza Lesufi, Themba Mhambi, Reginald Demana, SANRAL, e-toll, Gauteng Premier, Minister of Transport, Department of Transport

Chikunga also says the cameras will be used to catch speeders because the cameras are well placed to determine motorists’ average speed. E-chips will also still be able to be used to pay at other toll gates or for parking.

Motorists may still receive a bill for trips after April 11, but do not have to pay it. “We anticipate that there may be delays with the postal system, but after 30 days people’s accounts will be clean; they will have a clean slate,” says Lesufi.

However, motorists who use the e-toll system until April 11 will be expected to settle their bill in full.

The persistent question about where Gauteng’s portion of the money will come from to pay for Sanral’s overdue debt for the project, Lesufi said an agreement had been reached.

He again drew attention to the fact that the Gauteng budget in March this year showed that several financial institutions had been approached to borrow the money. Furthermore, it was agreed that Gauteng would help with the maintenance of the roads, even though the e-toll roads still remain national roads.