Cabinet approves toll tariffs for Gauteng Freeway
11 Aug 2011
Cabinet approved toll tariffs for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) phase A1 yesterday, 10 August 2011 and agreed that the Minister of Transport gives effect to the approval in terms of the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act, 1998 (Act No.7 of 1998), as set out as follows:
- Motorcycles (Class A1) 24c/km
- Light (Class A2) 40c/km
- Medium vehicles (Class B) 100c/km
- Longer vehicles (Class C) 200c/km and
- Qualifying commuter taxis (Class A2) and commuter busses (Class B) are exempted.
The implementation of further phases of the GFIP will now be re-assessed, including by the newly announced Presidential Commission on Infrastructure. The re-assessment will involve discussions on infrastructure strategic priorities, on how best to address the challenges of congestion on some of our key road networks, and on funding of these priorities.
The user-pay principle to upgrade and expand Gauteng freeways was mooted by the Gauteng provincial government (GPG) in the late 1990's. Based on various engagements and consultations between national government, Gauteng provincial government, the relevant local government as well as other stakeholders, the GFIP was finally declared a toll road network in 2008, with funding from a R20 billion interest accruing loan with agreed terms and conditions.
On 22 February 2011, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele announced the suspension of the implementation of e-tolling on the GFIP to allow for further engagement and consultation. A Steering Committee was appointed to review the proposed toll tariffs. Following the consultation process, the Steering Committee Report was presented to stakeholders on 30 June 2011 where further feedback was received. The final report was subsequently presented to the Minister of Transport, discussed with all relevant political principals and then presented to Cabinet. On 10 August 2011, Cabinet made the final pronouncement on this matter. TheDepartment of Transport (DoT), through its agency the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), will now commence with implementation of the Cabinet decision and further announcements regarding implementation will be made in due course.
Despite challenges, the South African road network is one of the best road infrastructure networks on the continent. It includes national roads, provincial roads, district roads and local roads. South Africa's road network comprises some 750 000km, 593 000km of which is gravel network managed by provinces, metros and municipalities. About 154 000km is paved and managed across all spheres, and 140 000km of the network is still to be proclaimed.
However, most of the road network has long exceeded its design-life, and has reached a state of disrepair. A 60/40 split is necessary, where 60% is for maintenance and 40% is for any new capital expenditure work.
This is an issue that has been raised by successive Ministers of Transport who wanted to address the historical under-investment in road maintenance - warning that failure to spend on road maintenance would, in time, cost the country more in the replacement and rebuilding of the network.
Since 2009, Minister Ndebele has lobbied for a dedicated investment that would deal with maintenance backlogs in the secondary road network. In our efforts, we have approached President Zuma and the Minister of Finance for dedicated funding for road maintenance.
On 18 April 2011, the S'hamba Sonke Road Maintenance Programme was officially launched with R6.4 billion allocated for this financial year, R7.5 billion next financial year and R8.2 billion by 2014 targeting the secondary road network and totaling more than R22 billion by 2014. For the first time, this entire amount is ring fenced for the maintenance of roads. The provincial roads maintenance grant is a conditional grant dedicated to road maintenance.
The Department of Transport is of the view that the challenges of congestion are, in principle, often best addressed through the extensive introduction of integrated public transport networks in our major cities and towns, and through facilitating a greater shift of appropriate freight from road to rail. It is in this context that the rolling out of integrated rapid public transport networks, funded through the multi-year, multi-billion rand Public Transport Infrastructure Systems Grant, in cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Tshwane needs to be appreciated. The increasing devolution of public transport planning, regulation and subsidies to Metro governments, as envisaged in the National Land Transport Act (2007) is intended to achieve better land use coordination and inter-modal integration.
Further, the next phase of the Gautrain from Johannesburg to Tshwane opened for commercial service on 2 August 2011. Since the commencement of operations of the airport link in June 2010, approximately three million passengers have used the Gautrain on this link. After years of under-spending, Government is now making steady progress towards ensuring that rail is the backbone of South Africa's public transport system. As of 1 April 2011, Government is spending R30.2 billion over the next three years for rail upgrades across the country, with R19.5 billion earmarked for capital spending to upgrade existing infrastructure, signaling systems and rolling stock.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) is embarking on a bold programme to invest in new rail rolling stock, worth an estimated R100 billion over a period of 18 years, for Metrorail. This will significantly improve the country's commuter rail transport.
Government investment in transport infrastructure amounts to R66 billion this year (2011/12), rising to R80 billion by 2013/14.
Statement issued by Thando Wababa Department of Transport, August 11 2011
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