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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

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

Panyaza Lesufi said process to switch off e-tolls will begin 31 March 2024.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said he could not determine when e-tolls would be scrapped in Gauteng.

Godongwana said this during a Finance Standing Committee joint meeting on Thursday.

e-Toll debt

Speaking on the e-toll debt, Godongwana explained that he’d previously agreed on a 70/30 debt settlement arrangement with Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi.

He was referring to the R47 billion the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) currently has in e-toll debt.

“We have made our own commitment and gave Sanral money last year. The province has got to give us money,” said Godongwana.

ALSO READ: Budget 2024: Godongwana pulls purse strings as social grants receive minimal increases

The finance minister also said that Gauteng was yet to answer key questions.

“Who’s going to do the maintenance? Is it a discussion they’re [having] with the Department of Transport?”

“So, unless an agreement is tied down, I can’t make a commitment as to when the gantries will go.”

Godongwana also said that Gauteng would have to figure out where they will get funding to service their portion of the debt.

“Once that is in place, then we can start talking business. Unless those conditions are met, there’s no way we can talk about dealing with that issue,” he said.

‘Safety purposes’

Lesufi recently announced that the process to switch off and delink e-tolls would begin on 31 March 2024.

READ MORE: Formal process to remove e-tolls begins on 31 March – Lesufi

However, Transport Minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga said the e-toll programme had already been halted.

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika on Friday, Chikunga said the gantries would no longer be used for e-tolling, but would be repurposed as a security measure.

“We’re going to use the gantries for crime prevention purposes, but no longer for e-tolls,” she said.

ALSO READ: ‘It’s not that simple’: Gauteng govt seeking loan to pay R12 billion for e-toll scrapping – Lesufi

‘Nothing to sign’

While Godongwana said the parties were yet to sign an agreement, Chikunga said “there is nothing to sign”, adding that an arrangement had already been concluded.

“There’s no question about it. It’s agreed upon, it’s a foregone matter – Gauteng is going to pay 30% of the amount owed to the market and National Treasury will pay 70% of that,” Chikunga said.

According to her, the next step is for parties to keep up their end of the bargain – and to switch off the e-toll gantries to prevent further charges on motorists.

Meanwhile, Lesufi said on social media platform X on Friday that confusion around the phasing out of e-tolls would be cleared.

“E-tolls are history. We will clear the confusion. Thanks to Transport Minister [for] clarifying this confusion,” he said.

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