E-tolls will be history by 1st of April: Lesufi

E-tolls gantry
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Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has reiterated the province’s plan to scrap e-tolls by the end of this month. This follows widespread confusion on the status of the project, as all involved have shared conflicting information.

During his State of the Province Address (SOPA) last month, Lesufi said they had reached an agreement with ministers of finance and transport. However, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana told Parliament’s joint finance committees that Gauteng has not met the pre-conditions to allow for e-tolls to be scrapped.

Speaking on SABC’s Morning Live, Lesufi said that come next month, e-tolls will be history.

“Today I signed all the relevant legislation that is needed before handing it over to the national government, that was the last piece that was needed for this aspect to come to an end. Our technical team has just finalised very important processes, so I can assure you that from the first of April, you will not hear the beep that you normally hear when you pass there, you will not be receiving bills, and you won’t be charged for e-tolls,” he explained.

Video: State of the Gauteng Province with Premier Panyaza Lesufi reiterating the scrapping of e-tolls

‘Costly decision’

Gauteng Premier conceded that the scrapping of e-tolls is a costly decision. Lesufi said his government will have to find ways to raise the funds.

“It is going to cost us almost R12 billion as a province. The principal amount is R47 billion that we owe to the people that we borrowed money from when we were preparing for the 2010 World Cup and people boycotted the payment.

“Because people were boycotting payments, the government was paying this interest on loans and by last year, we paid almost R21 billion on interest alone. So the principal amount is waiting there at R47 billion. We are paying interest of R21 billion, which doesn’t make sense. That is why when we entered the space, we said let’s bite the bullet, get R47 billion and pay these people. We’ll find a way of raising revenue.”