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Date: 04 May 2012
Title: Committee will look at all aspects of e-tolling
Pretoria - The committee appointed to coordinate work around the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) would look at all aspects related to the e-tolls.
Briefing the media on Friday, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, said the committee would look into issues such as the recent court decision on e-tolls, the implication of that decision, the implication on SA National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) and the ability to pay back the debt.
The North Gauteng High Court granted an urgent interdict against e-tolling, placing the project on hold until a full review can take place. The system would have kicked off on 30 April.
Chabane said an area of concern was the debt related to the e-tolls. "The infrastructure is in place, the debt exists and now we have to find a way to deal with it, whatever the consequences may be," he said.
Cabinet has appointed a committee to be chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to coordinate all work around the GFIP.
Chabane said government understood the concerns and issues raised by South Africans around the e-tolling of Gauteng roads.
He said government had gone someway to provide relief to motorists by making R5.75 billion available to the SA National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL).
"This committee will among other things move with urgency to ensure that SANRAL's financial stability is not affected in any way. The committee will assess the government's response to the North Gauteng High Court ruling and other related legal matters.
"It will also meet with appropriate stakeholders in order to find constructive solutions and consensus on the outstanding matters," he said.
Chabane added that the R20 billion investment in the GFIP would benefit the residents and the economy of Gauteng, which was a major driver of national economic activity.
"The decisions that we make and the steps that all of us as South Africans now take regarding the future of the GFIP will have serious implications for how we finance future infrastructure projects.
"We must also guard against decisions and actions that may impact negatively on our track record in the prudent management of government finances," he said, adding that government had to act responsibly to ensure that it and the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) honoured their financial obligations timeously.
"Government must also ensure that nothing compromises the huge infrastructure programme which is crucial for raising the level of South Africa's economic growth and for raising the standard of living of citizens, especially the poor and unemployed," said the minister.
Other members of the committee are Sbu Ndebele (Minister of Transport), Pravin Gordhan ( Minister of Finance), Malusi Gigaba (Minister of Public Enterprises), Collins Chabane (Minister in the Presidency: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation) and Cassius Lubisi (DG in the Presidency and Cabinet Secretary). - BuaNews