E-tolls may be gone but your debt remains

By Rorisang Modiba

The e-toll system in Gauteng will officially end on 12 April, but people must still pay previous debts, Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said. 

Although the transport department announced that e-tolls would end on 11 April, Sanral has said that is the final day of operation, with billing until 11.59pm. 

“In terms of the law, motorists are still obligated to pay their debts,” Chikunga said, BusinessTech reported.

“How this will be enforced is still to be discussed. If there are challenges, that’s a matter we will be looking into,” he said.

“This is the law. There is an existing law that says if you use a toll road, you must pay. We have not cancelled this law, so based on that, yes, people must pay.”

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said the government will get expert advice on e-toll debts.

He said he never promised refunds and was misquoted about the debt issue needing resolution.

“The basis of the disputes on e-tolls comes from a lack of consultation,” Lesufi said.

He said they must subject the payment or enforcement of debt to consultation.

“People can’t say we are deciding without consulting,” he said.

“A technical team will be established. It’s not an easy thing. There’s the element of SARS. Some people have paid tax on this. Some people have hired cars who have paid e-tolls. Cars have changed hands from one person to another.”

The system, launched in 2013 to fund road infrastructure, faced widespread rejection, leading to financial issues.

Gauteng will cover 30% of the e-toll debt, nearly R13-billion, while the National Treasury will cover the remaining 70%.

Despite the system ending, e-tags will remain for alternative uses like crime prevention and traffic management. 

Discussions on repurposing e-toll infrastructure, like offices and kiosks, are ongoing. 

Pictured above: E-tolls. 

Image source: Sanral

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