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E-toll decision is imminent, says Mbalula

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E-toll decision is imminent, says Mbalula

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula

19th May 2022

By: News24Wire

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Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said the final pronouncement on the funding model of e-tolls is imminent.

Mbalula tabled his budget vote for the Department of Transport in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. This comes amid uncertainty around South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) electronic tolling system to pay for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, which has been met with public resistance.

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Mbalula said he was working with Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana to help Cabinet arrive at a final determination on the funding of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.  

He said that a decision on the matter was "imminent", although it has taken a long time.

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"We are alive to the adverse impact the delay in making the final decision on e-tolls has on the [Sanral] balance sheet and its ability to raise capital for its catalytic projects," said Mbalula. 

In his budget vote, Mbalula detailed the billions in financial support that are committed to fund programmes and stabilise Sanral and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

Prasa has been rocked by challenges, including the theft, vandalism and destruction of its rail infrastructure and instability at a leadership level. Former CEO Zolani Matthews has successfully challenged his dismissal, which has been ruled invalid by the courts.

Mbalula said Sanral would continue to get support from the Department of Transport in the medium-term to help it extend its national road development programme.

"An allocation of R76.4-billion goes to the South African National Roads Agency.  Transfers to Sanral account for 33.5% of the department's budget over the medium term and 65.5% of the budget of the road transport programme," said Mbalula.

Mbalula said Prase would also receive significant financial support in the medium-term for capital, operational and refurbishing purposes.

"In recognising the centrality of providing affordable, safe and reliable public transport services, capital transfers to the Prasa will increase from R12.6-billion in 2022/23 to R13.5-billion in 2024/25," he said.

Mbalula said the capital transfers would go towards refurbishing coaches, Prasa's rolling stock fleet renewal programme, signalling and other capital projects, which include security of the rail infrastructure.

"Operational transfers to Prasa are expected to increase from R7.2-billion in 2022/23 to R7.8-billion in 2024/25," said Mbalula.

He said R45.3-billion, or 59.3% of the allocation to Sanral, is budgeted to upgrade, strengthen and refurbish the national non-toll roads network, while R2.8-billion is allocated for Moloto Road. 

"A budget of R3.7-billion is allocated for the N2 Wild Coast project and R2.1-billion allocated to fund reduced tariffs for the Gauteng freeway improvement project," the minister said.

Mbalula said since January, the department has produced 1 026 674 driving licence cards, with a backlog of 526 841 cards as of 16 May.

 

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