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Govt to announce decision on e-tolls by end of March, says Fikile Mbalula

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The government will announce the future of the much-maligned e-tolls by the end of March, said Transport minister Fikile Mbalula during a question-and-answer session in Parliament.

“We are equally enjoined to finalise the funding model and the tariff structure on the Gauteng freeway improvement project (e-tolls) by the end of this financial year,” he said.

The Gauteng DA has since welcomed Mbalula’s indication that the national government would provide clarity on the future of e-tolls.

DA Gauteng roads and transport spokesperson Fred Nel said they hoped the transport ministry and the cabinet would stick to a set date this time.

“For the past 18 months, Mbalula has been continuously kicking this can down the road. The DA hopes that he has finally reached the end of that road and that it will not be another false start,” he said.

“In light of recent announcements that all toll fees will soon increase, despite the desperate state of our economy and subsequent damage to many livelihoods during the lockdown, it is even more important to get rid of e-tolls as soon as possible.”

Nel said the DA believed that the people of Gauteng must no longer be “burdened by this nonsensical system.”

While the government has yet to announce a decision on whether to scrap e-tolls, it has now been more than a year since the cabinet set up a team that included the national treasury to come up with a solution to the controversial system and they were expected to decide by October 2019.

The implementation of e-tolls in December 2013, has been met with public retaliation, with many motorists refusing to pay.

Political parties and civil organizations have also protested against the system, putting pressure on the government to scrap the unpopular means of collection.

Source | The Citizen