In footballing terms, this feels a bit like celebrating a goal – only for VAR to overturn it moments later. Initially, there was joy when Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana confirmed that an agreement had been reached to pay-off SANRAL’s debt – but e-tolls haven’t been killed off yet.
Is this the end of e-tolls? Well, we’ve never been closer
The ANC Government has proposed to make an initial allocation of R23.7 billion from the national fiscus, which will be disbursed on strict conditions. This will go towards clearing SANRAL’s debt, following its disastrous experiment with e-tolls.
So, does this mean that the ghoulish gantries are gone for good? Well, not quite yet. Although it feels as if the end is nigh, there has been some conflicting information on the matter – largely stemming from the fact that Minister Godongwana spoke in riddles on the subject.
Gauteng to have final say on e-tolls future
Although he announced that both national and provincial governments would both contribute to pay-off SANRAL’s debt, responsibility was ultimately passed to Gauteng’s Legislature. With a clean slate, they can either scrap e-tolls, build new plazas, or look for other revenue sources.
“We need to move on from the debates of previous years and find solutions to this challenge. To resolve the funding impasse the Gauteng provincial government has agreed to contribute 30% to settling SANRAL’s debt and interest obligations, while national government covers 70%.”
“Gauteng will also cover the costs of maintaining the 201 kilometres and associated interchanges of the roads and any additional investment in road will be funded through either the existing e-tolls, new toll plazas, or any other revenue source within their area of responsibility.” | Enoch Godongwana
Gauteng Government helping to pay-off SANRAL debts
The bottom line is this: The Gauteng Government now has the green-light to scrap e-tolls. Indeed, there’s enough public and political support to suggest this really is where it all ends for a nightmare that has taken a decade to unfold.
The ball is now in their court. However, Provincial Legislature still have the option choosing a course of action which keeps the unpopular system in place. How well that would work out for all parties, however, is the subject of fierce debate.
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