South Africa to Scrap Electronic Tolls in Gauteng Province

South Africa is planning to scrap electronic road tolls in the nation’s main commercial hub, Gauteng Member of the Executive Council for Transport Jacob Mamabolo said.

“They are being scrapped,” Mamabolo said in an interview Thursday on broadcaster SAfm. “The e-tolls are a thing of the past and we’re just waiting for that to be formalized.”

The state-owned South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd. has faced resistance to e-tolls from motorists since their inception in 2013. Sanral’s debt to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project may increase by two-thirds to about 67 billion rand ($4.9 billion) if the tolls are canceled, the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times reported in September.

The e-toll system has been a sticking point between the national government and the provincial authorities for years. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has insisted that the user-pay principle for Gauteng’s road upgrades will stay in place because the Treasury can’t pick up Sanral’s debt bill.

The “national government will make an announcement on e-tolls and we are positive it will be favorable to our position, which is public knowledge,” Mamabolo said on Twitter.

The South African cabinet has yet to make a decision on the future of e-tolls, Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told reporters Thursday in an online briefing.

“Cabinet is considering the possibility of what should happen should e-tolls be scrapped or what should happen should e-tolls be maintained,” she said. “There is no decision in cabinet around the scrapping of e-tolls.

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