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The Ministry of Transport has noted media reports regarding the tolling of the Freeways in Gauteng.
We wish to clarify that the statement released by the Office of the Minister of Transport Mr Sibusiso Ndebele on the matter two weeks ago remains relevant and applicable.
The statement made reference to the halting of any future planned tolling of roads in the country, including the planned Phase 2 of Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan (GFIP), Cape Winelands and the Wildcoast.
With regard to GFIP, it's important to note that there's a clear distinction/separation between Phase 1 (almost completed) and Phase (no work has started as yet).
The GFIP Phase 1 is almost complete and we would like to hear alternative views from the public on the best possible model of financing the debt incurred.
Minister Ndebele's instruction means GFIP Phase 2 will not commence until all consultative processes have been exhausted.
Cabinet has already made pronouncements on GFIP Phase 1. (Please refer to cabinet statement of 11 August 2011)wherein it released revised fees which included major reductions, discounts for regular users and total exemptions for public transport vehicles (buses and mini-bus taxis) with regard to GFIP Phase 1.
Cabinet also appointed a Ministerial Task Team comprising the Ministers of Transport and Finance to handle the matter.
Minister Ndebele will request the incoming board of directors (01 December 2011) of the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) to prioritise the resolution of the financing model regarding the cost of GFIP Phase 1 amounting to 20 billion rand.
This will be complementing other processes on the matter currently underway, i.e. The Ministerial Task Team appointed by cabinet and the planned public consultative processes. (Gauteng Provincial Legislature 07 November 2011 and National Department of Transport end November).
These processes will seek to come up with viable funding options for the improvement of road infrastructure in the future and the servicing of the current debt with regard to GFIP Phase 1.
We call on all parties concerned to take advantage of the planned consultative processes to share with government their views on how we could fund better road infrastructure without hurting the pocket of the consumer.
The Minister believes that while we require good road infrastructure to support the country's growth and development initiatives, this shouldn't leave a heavy financial burden on the shoulders of the consumer. Hence we would like to subject any future tolling projects to thorough consultative processes with the public.