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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

‘Gantry lights and cameras will remain’ − Gauteng Finance MEC Mamabolo on e-toll debt

Gauteng MEC for Finance Jacob Mamabolo delivered his 2024 provincial budget speech on Tuesday.

Gauteng MEC for Finance Jacob Mamabolo said the provincial Treasury will pay its portion of the e-toll debt and promised the issue would be resolved by 31 March.

Mamabolo delivered his 2024 provincial budget speech on Tuesday.

Addressing the e-toll debt, Mamabolo said Gauteng Treasury accepts the 30% contribution.

This comes after Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi struck a 70/30 settlement agreement with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.

“The Gauteng government has agreed to contribute 30% to settling Sanral’s [South African National Roads Agency] debt and interest obligations, while national government covers 70%,” Mamabolo said.

He said the province has approached financial institutions to raise the funds needed to fulfil its part of the bargain.

The 31 March, 2024 deadline to end e-tolling remains unchanged.

READ MORE: ‘Gauteng has to give us money’: Godongwana questions Lesufi’s plans to scrap e-tolls

Gantries will stay on

Meanwhile, contrary to popular expectations, the e-toll gantries will not be switched off.

“The gantry lights and cameras will remain on as they will continue to be operated for other law enforcement purposes but will no longer be used for e-toll collection,” Mamabolo said.

“With regards to the cancellation of the e-toll, 14 days after the publishing of the deregulation gazette, Gauteng road users will no longer be charged for the use of the Gauteng freeways.”

Mamabolo said various processes were yet to be followed including turning off tag beeps and stopping invoices to motorists.

“As part of the winding down process, statutory authorities at national level – National Treasury, National Department of Transport and Sanral – will carry out all the necessary steps to cease the collection of e-tolls and gazette accordingly.”

However, he said road users would still be able to continue using their e-tags at toll plazas countrywide, as long as their accounts remained active.

ALSO READ: Outa: ‘E-tolls debacle is confusing’

Road maintenance a separate matter

A maintenance plan for the gantries was a second key condition to Gauteng’s agreement with National Treasury.

Mamabolo said while provision had been made to settle the e-toll debt, matters relating to maintenance would be discussed and concluded through a separate process.

“We have held engagements with Sanral and they confirmed the e-tolls maintenance backlog of R4.1 billion, and that funding will be required over a period of four years. 

“This demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt the province’s commitment to comply with National Treasury’s requirements and bring us closer to exiting the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project,” he explained.

ALSO READ: Promises and reflections ahead of Gauteng 2024 Budget speech