The controversial highway e-toll in the province of Gauteng, South Africa – part of the province’s Freeway Improvement Plan (GFIP) – is set to be implemented rather soon than later, and it will cost a whopping R24 billion (about 2.4 billion USD).
This was revealed last week by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane in the Gauteng Legislature in response to questions by the Democratic Alliance (DA) caucus leader Jack Bloom.
“This is a reversal of the announcement by former Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele in November 2011 that Phase 2 would be halted until all consultative processes were exhausted,” Bloom lamented.
“It now appears that the decision has already been made, and will be followed the planned introduction of e-tolls on Phase 1 of the GFIP.”
The Phase 2 will cover 300 km of roads in Gauteng, and will mean that virtually every major route in the province will be tolled,” Bloom said, adding that his party will continue to fiercely oppose the e-tolls and any further tolled urban highways.
“The estimated cost has been given as R24 billion, but it is highly likely that it will cost vastly more than this. E-toll charges will rise dramatically to pay for it unless an alternative source of finance is found,” he said.
“This raises the stakes in the e-toll battle. Government seems determined to push tolls countrywide, including the N1-N2 Cape Winelands and other routes.”
The implementation of the ‘expensive’ e-toll projects has generated a lot of controversy in South Africa, to such an extent that consumer lobby groups have petitioned and taken the government to court to try to stop the project, but to no avail.
Judge Louis Vorster of the North Gauteng High Court last year quashed a bid to have the project stopped, to the delight of government which said it felt vindicated by the court’s decision.
However, some independent lobby groups, such as the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA), have vowed to fight on ‘until the end’ to have the project indefinitely suspended.
*Photo by Petitionbuzz.com