The Presidency has reiterated that there is no link between the e-toll court case this week and the signing of the Transport and Related Matters Amendment Bill.
It has refuted reports that President Jacob Zuma signed the bill into law on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 — the day the matter was before the Supreme Court of Appeal.
“The reports are untrue. The President signed the bill into law on Saturday, 21 September before departing for the United States of America to attend the 68th United Nations General Assembly session,” read a statement from the high office.
The bill may trigger the start of the much-delayed electronic road toll project in Gauteng.
The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) took its fight against the system to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The Presidency announced on Thursday that the bill had been published in the Government Gazette (Gazette No. 36878 Notice No. 716) of 26 September 2013.
Meanwhile, The Department of Transport has welcomed the enactment of the bill by the President.
“This positive development provides the necessary legal framework and paves the way for the implementation of the electronic tolling system on selected highways in Gauteng, covering at least 200 kilometres of road network,” the department said.
The Minister of Transport will now attend to the remaining procedural matters related to the implementation process.
These include the publication of final regulations, notices and toll tariffs, and the determination of the date of commencement.
The minister is required by law to publish her final determination on regulations, notices and toll tariffs at least 30 days before the commencement of tolling.
The department said it would make an announcement regarding the timeframes of the processes, including the commencement date of tolling once all these final processes have been concluded.
“SANRAL has been ready for some time to implement the project and the system has been running on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) network minus the collection process for two years now, and has been working fully, including collection, on the Bakwena toll road network.”
Consultation processes were held with stakeholders including trade union federation Cosatu, Outa, religious formations and the Road Freight Association, among others.
“We wish to further reaffirm Cabinet’s decision that public transport, (buses and mini-bus taxis) would be granted an exemption from paying tolls, relieving the poor from making this contribution to road infrastructure development.”
At least 82% of motorists who travel regularly on the tolled road network will not pay more than R100 monthly, with a cap of R450 for frequent travellers.