eTolls shut down tomorrow, but you’ll still be getting a bill

  • After more than a decade of failure, eTolls will be shut down just before midnight on Thursday.
  • While the gantries will remain up, motorists on Gauteng’s highways won’t be charged when passing underneath them.
  • However, motorists will still be required to pay what they owe Sanral up until 23:59 on 11th April.

Motorists on Gauteng highways will no longer hear the beep of an eTag when they pass under the eTolls gantry after 23:59 on 11th April.

The shuttering of the poorly received and planned tolling project comes over a decade after it was introduced. The project was meant to serve as a means to fund the construction and maintenance of Gauteng’s highways, but motorists refused to pay. Between 10 and 12 percent of motorists pay their eToll bill according to Engineering News.

“This matter caused a lot of public aggravation and was indeed of great concern to Cabinet. It is a concern that led to the formation of three-member committee – made up of the Minister of Transport, Minister of Finance and Gauteng Premier – charged by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2019 to find a solution to the impasse,” Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga said in a media briefing.

“Between myself, as Minister of Transport, the Minister of Finance, Mr Enoch Godongwna, and the Gauteng Premier, Mr Panyaza Lesufi, we finally reached agreement towards the end of March on how to conclusively deal with the debt resulting from e-tolls and, as a result, we were able to sign a Memorandum of Agreement to formalise alternative funding solutions for the GFIP [Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project] debt repayment and deal with the backlog of maintenance and rehabilitation costs,” Chikunga added.

So on 12th April eTolls will officially be dead. Motorists won’t be charged for passing under a gantry from 12:00 on Friday morning, but the gantries will remain up. The minister says the cameras and lights will help fight crime, which we suppose is a decent way to use the structures.

For those hoping they wouldn’t receive an etoll bill, we have bad news on that front.

“Etoll invoices will be rolled up until the last day and issued up until this period. Due to potential delays in the postal system, invoices will still be received some time after 12 April 2024. However, no transactions post-midnight on 11 April 2024 will appear on the invoice or statement,” the Minister said.

What does that mean? Well, Sanral will likely be giving non-payers a call as per a document shared online by Panyaza Lesufi.

“As the implementing authority and in terms of Treasury Regulations, Sanral has an obligation to take effective and appropriate steps to collect all money due to it. Until advised otherwise, this remains the Sanral position,” reads the answer to a question about paying outstanding fees.

However, Sanral can’t pursue criminal action against non-payers so it’s not clear how the entity will recoup those funds.

While government pats itself on the back for scrapping etolls the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) which was birthed as the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance believes its in spite of government that the tolls have been scrapped.

“The demise of the e-toll scheme was by no means the result of a willing government decision or the work of the ANC premier of Gauteng. I sincerely believe that no one person or organisation can claim to be the sole reason for the scheme’s closure. While Outa’s structured litigation, civil disobedience and public empowerment campaign played a significant role, the overall collapse was due to a combination of civil activism and gross overreach by Sanral, whose grandiose plan was shrouded in arrogance and heavy with administrative complexities. It was always going to fail in the long run, once the public realised its power and refused to give in to the existence of an abusive government scheme,” the organisation said earlier this month.

“While the end of e-tolls is cause for celebration, it also underscores the need for transparency, accountability and good governance in policy decisions. The entire saga has also been a testament to the resilience of civil society and the importance of holding those in power accountable,” Outa said.

Now we wait to learn how Sanral intends on recovering the tolls from non-payers.


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