All drivers of light motor vehicles will pay a maximum of R225 per month, 50% less than is currently charged, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told reporters in Cape Town on Wednesday. Medium and heavy trucks will be charged R875, also 50% lower, while articulated trucks will pay a maximum of R2 900 per month, 17% below present tariffs. Minibus taxis and commuter buses are still exempt.
The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd., known as Sanral, started electronic toll roads in Gauteng, South Africa’s richest province, in December 2013 to help pay for the R20 billion upgrade of 201 kilometres of roads. The company owes R71.7 billion in outstanding bonds, interest and loans, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The imposition of the fees was delayed for more than two years due to opposition from unions and other groups, and several legal challenges. The roads aren’t new routes so their base structure has already been paid for with taxes, according to the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, which represents groups including drivers.
Sanral is facing a revenue shortfall of about R390 million because of some drivers’ failure or refusal to pay the tolls, Ramaphosa said. This will be made up by the government. Those car-owners with outstanding debt to Sanral will be offered a 60% discount to settle up.
The ruling African National Congress in Gauteng called for a review of the system last year after losing support in May elections, and in February Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said the national government would help offset the costs.
The tolls are operated by Electronic Toll Collection (Pty) Ltd., which is controlled by Kapsch TrafficCom AG, an Austrian maker of road-toll systems.
In February last year, Kapsch TrafficCom said it had taken an 8.5 million-euro ($9.5 million) write-down on part of compensation it was due to receive from Sanral to maintain and run the system.
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