Transport minister Dupuo Peters has confirmed to the press this morning that Gauteng’s eTolling project will go live on the 3rd of December – two weeks from now. The announcement comes despite hopes that the system would only be switched on after December’s holiday period.
Peters, who described the new highways around the province as “magnificent”, said that the previous highway network was a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode. She adds that the government had to act, and says that it did so responsibly, while learning many lessons.
One of those lessons is listening to customers and road users. When the eToll project was first set to go live, toll fees for the new road network were considered exorbitant by many. Since then, SANRAL and the government have worked to halve the total costs – though those will only apply to registered eTag holders. The electronic toll system relies on these devices to be attached to the cars using the road network, and they beep as cars pass under the tolling gantries.
Those who do not have eTags will be charged the full price for using the road, the full details of which are available on SANRAL’s website, which hosts the pricing. SANRAL’s own figures say that to date 700 000 eTags have been sold.
A reporter from Eyewitness News asked whether the eToll network is ready to start operation, and minister Peters said that she is confident it is. She also warned that those who do not pay their eToll accounts will be prosecuted. Transport MEC Ismail Vadi added that the legal system will not be flooded – and also said that there will not be any special courts. Earlier this year it was reported that SANRAL applied to be able to set up special roadside courts to enforce eToll payment.
Despite a long battle by consumer groups like OUTA, the inevitable has happened. Those who live in Gauteng might do well to rush to their nearest SANRAL eTag registration point in the next week, before the rush begins.