JOHANNESBURG – As the African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng tries to persuade its national leaders to scrap e-tolls in the province before next year’s general elections, the South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) says it’s not as simple as settling historic debt.
Today marks exactly half a decade since the e-toll gantries went live on the province’s highways, with only 30% of motorists actually paying their bills.
During the five years, there have been tensions over the political divide probes by the Public Protector, a review panel as well as national protests by the working class which culminated in a march to the Union Buildings by the ANC in the province and its alliance partners.
Sanral says it also needs clarity on the contentious issue once and for all.
WATCH: E-tolls: Where are we 5 years on?
Alex van Niekerk says the Gauteng freeway improvement project was implemented in 2008 to ease congestion on the roads due to concerning traffic volumes.
But five years down the line, the roads agency warns that motorists might soon experience heavier delays in travel time if improvements aren’t done in the next few years.
“The time to actually implement infrastructure could take about six to 10 years to implement on the freeways.”
Retired UK roads design engineer Eddie Drewnicki has criticised Sanral saying at least ten interchanges in the province are not functioning optimally which he says makes the entire improvement project a waste of time and money.
“You can’t build an interchange two or three years before the World Cup and think everything is going to be rosy afterwards.”
Outa agrees that Sanral rushed into the implementation phase with no proper public consultation beforehand.