South Africa set for E – toll
By Funke Atohengbe, Pretoria
The South African National Road Agency Limited, SANRAL, says it is set to implement the Gauteng e-tolling system.
Speaking during a demonstration on how the system operates at the e-toll Central Operations Centre in Midrand, the Manager of Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, Alex van Niekerk said the system has been operational for a couple of months, although they were not physically charging road users.
“But at the Bakwena Toll Plaza, we've been actually generating transactions, so the system has been thoroughly tested. We are ready to commence with Gauteng e-tolling system," he said.
Mr Van Niekerk said over 10,000 road users were already using their Gauteng e-toll accounts to pay their tolls at the Bakwena electronic tolling facilities on sections of the N1 and N4 highways.
"This means that these road users who choose to activate their Gauteng e-toll accounts for use at Bakwena do not have to wait in queues in the manual payment lanes, which saves them time," Mr Van Niekerk explained.
He reiterated that it was very important for people to get their e-tags and have them fitted before the implementation of the Gauteng e-tolling system.
"E-tag road users also qualify for a whole spectrum of discounts, meaning that they pay the lowest possible toll fees. The most cost effective method of toll collection is from a compliant registered e-tag account holder," Mr Van Niekerk said.
He said SANRAL has monitored over two million vehicles in the last few months and discovered that more than 90 percent of e-tag users in the light motor vehicle category will pay less than R200 a month in toll fees.
Mr Van Niekerk reiterated that motorists do not have to provide SANRAL with their banking details when registering for e-toll.
“There was the option of a prepaid account where users can pay for their toll fees in cash or by debit card at the e-toll customer service outlets or by electronic funds transfer,” he explained.
Last month, the Department of Transport gazetted the toll tariffs and regulations for public comment that will apply to users of the toll road network in Gauteng.
The gazetting of the toll tariffs marks the beginning of a 30-day period for public comment. Government will, after the 30-day period, having considered the views of the public before publishing the final tariffs.
The proposed standard toll tariff is 58c/km for light vehicles (class A2), while the e-tag tariff is 30c/km for the same class vehicle.
Class A1 (motor cycles) will pay 18c/km under the e-tag tariff; while the Class B (med heavy) e-tag tariff is 75c/km and Class C (heavy vehicles) e-tag tariff is R1.50/km.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU Africans, has vowed to resist the implementation of the system saying it will further impoverish poor South Africans who are already struggling to survive under the country’s current economic crunch.