It was a much awaited announcement and was not short of reactions when it finally came. This was the announcement by the South African and ANC Deputy President, Cyril Ramaposa about the latest development in the e-tolls saga on Wednesday. Ramaposa announced that the fact that e-tolls would not be scrapped as some motorists had hoped, they were going ahead much to the chagrin of the majority of Johannesburgers. In addition, he also informed those that took the time to listen to his address that the e-toll fees would be reduced by up to half, adding, in the same vein that the whole project will be expanded.
Ramaposa announced that more freeways would also be tolled in Gauteng in the project which had been dubbed the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. This expansion, he said, would be funded by the current e-tolls, adding that the expansion would cover a new total distance of 300km of freeways which will be tolled in the second phase of the project. This Phase two would include N14 Krugersdorp highway, the section of the M1 between Woodmead and Sandton, the N14 Ben Schoeman highway into Pretoria, the N3 to Heidelberg, the R59 and N12 from Nancefield to Potchefstroom, and the remaining untolled section of the N4 Pretoria. The total cost of erecting these new gantries was estimated to be between R10-billion and R24-billion.
Turning to more positive news, the deputy president said that the e-toll fees had been reviewed and motorists would soon be paying much less than they had been paying for using Gauteng’s roads and that the amount each motorist would have to pay would be capped at a certain level per month. The new rates the motorists would have to pay were slashed to 18c per kilometre while light motor vehicle owners would have to part with thirty cents for every kilometre they travelled on Gauteng’s roads. Medium heavy motor and heavy motor vehicle owners will pay 75 cents and 150c respectively in e-toll fees. Ramaposa also announced maximum fees each class of vehicles would have to pay per month and these are as follows: motorbikes – R125, cars – R225, medium trucks – R875 and for heavy vehicles R2900. As a punitive measure for non payment of fees on time, the Deputy President announced that if payment is not made within a month statements being issued, the motorist would have to pay double the presented bill. In addition, Ramaposa also announced that any motorist who did not comply with e-tolls would not be able to renew their vehicle licenses.