E-tolls not my idea - Ndebele

2012-01-15 14:10

Johannesburg - Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele has distanced himself from the controversial e-tolling on Gauteng’s freeways which was postponed last week.

In an interview with City Press, Ndebele said Cabinet would listen to all objections to the scheme “without pointing fingers”.

Cabinet was to discuss e-tolling at its lekgotla.

Ndebele said he was not surprised that the public opposed the tolls, adding that his predecessor, Jeff Radebe, had also refused to approve the proposal from the Gauteng government and “guarantee” the loan for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.

“Government refused three times because the government asked, ‘how are you going to pay for it?’ Three times it was sent to the national government and three times it was sent back to the Gauteng government.

“Everyone that is there now was there except me. I was the premier of KwaZulu-Natal. I didn’t have anything to do with it,” said Ndebele, adding that the process was completed long before he was appointed to his current portfolio in 2009.


This comes as the new SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) board announced last week it was delaying implementation of e-tolling, originally planned for roll-out next month.

City Press understands that Ndebele insisted that the new board discuss opposition to e-tolling, after strong reaction from civil society and opposition parties.

The latest postponement by the board, installed in November, did not bode well for Sanral’s insistence that the tolls should go ahead.

Insiders said the fact that only 213 000 of the estimated 2.2 million Gauteng motorists had registered three weeks before the scheduled start of the tariffs, was among the main reasons the board recommended the launch be delayed.

The board’s recommendation followed on the heels of the previous board’s unhappiness with the leadership of Sanral chief executive Nazir Alli.

Former board members wrote to Ndebele last year, asking him to reign in Alli for, among others, allegedly ignoring direct instructions from it.

Government sympathetic

Ndebele reiterated that government was sympathetic to the “cries” of groups opposing tolls and conceded that the 49c a kilometre tariff – that motorists will be charged – would be a “huge financial burden” on them.

“We will table the petition to Cabinet to say these people are crying that this is heavy, what can be done objectively? It’s not a hostile petition. Cabinet is not going to be dismissive [of those petitions].

“Cabinet will look at all creative ways of lessening the burden without pointing fingers to say you asked for this thing. That’s not the attitude that Cabinet will take,” he said.

But he appealed to opponents of the tolls to also consider that Sanral had to repay the R20bn debt used for the construction of phase one of the project.

Someone has to pay

“Phase one is done. Someone has got to pay one way or the other, but it will go to Cabinet again and they will see how to deal with it,” Ndebele said.

“There is no need to persuade us that these tolls will be heavy on people. I think it’s a very heavy burden on the motorist, there’s no question about it.”

A review of the tolls might also mean national Treasury would foot the R20bn bill by “sacrificing” money from other projects.

“Cabinet will know whether this [government] programme and that programme cannot go ahead at 100% because 10% is taken to cover [the debt]. That’s really what we are asking for and everybody is conscious that [Finance Minister] Pravin Gordhan doesn’t remain with change in his pocket [from the budget],” Ndebele said.

Ndebele said the future tolling of any road should be approved by all, including premiers, mayors and the residents concerned.

In October he instructed Sanral not to go ahead with plans to toll various roads, including phase two of the Gauteng project and the construction of the R10bn Winelands project in Cape Town.

Cosatu was forging ahead with plans for mass action against the tolls next month.

“We are still urging motorists not to buy e-tags and not to register for tolling accounts.

“Government has to find another alternative to the tolling burden,” said spokesperson Patrick Craven.

  • Erich - 2012-01-15 14:19

    Is it a co-incidence that you raised this matter only now that the opposition against the Gauteng tollroad system is reaching new heights? If you said this when you assumed the post of Minister of Transport, I would not doubt your credibility.

      Jonathon - 2012-01-15 16:17

      I think the R15bn we sent off to that stupid king in Swaziland would have made a good start to paying the dept for the road works. The problem is they saw a big profit and now that its going down hill people like this who swore and declared it would go through are trying to look like they're on the peoples side. Don't believe him, when this thing falls through, which it will if we continue to stand together he should be tried for corruption with the rest of his parade....

  • Sinudeity - 2012-01-15 14:25

    "A review of the tolls might also mean national Treasury would foot the R20bn bill by “sacrificing” money from other projects." You could dip into the ANC party fund.

  • Colourless - 2012-01-15 14:26

    What I am still bother by is the fact that the people - whom the government is voted to represent, were not asked if they approved, they were not asked if they agreed to the loan,who are the people that now suffer, the "idiots" like many of us who go out there and make money. Who doesn't this effect, the people who don't help the country.

      Adam - 2012-01-15 19:28

      I agree with you, but it was those funsas that voted them in.

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-01-15 14:28

    "It was the National Party. It was all their fault."

      johnnymacza - 2012-01-15 14:55

      yeah it would possibly be blamed like everything else on the "regime"

      Piet - 2012-01-15 15:28

      You get it wrong goyoubadthing its apartheid

  • Ben - 2012-01-15 14:30

    Let Alli pay the R20bn debt used for construction of phase one of the project. Clearly that was a bad decision to use this money before anybody knew whether the whole scheme would be profitable and accepted.

      StarStruck - 2012-01-15 14:36

      Look there should be a budget for exactly this type of road expansion in the first place. Gauteng has the most congested roads in the country and government should have used foresight in dealing with it which is a skill that this unit as whole fail to poses

  • Wikus Gouws - 2012-01-15 14:32

    Sooooo what about the taxes we are already paying on fuel??? Aint these suppose to cover maintenance and construction of roads?

      pws69 - 2012-01-15 16:01

      That is exactly why I won't pay. Let them take me to court. We will let a judge decide whether DOUBLE TAXATION is legal or not.

      Friedrich - 2012-01-16 09:02

      Never mind just the fuel tax, but is it not illegal to get taxed on a tax??? The e-toll is a tax, and then there is a 14% tax on that! i will not pay for an e-toll, and i agree, let a judge decide, take me to court and i will win. Why is it now also a business with BEE, and why are there so many outside investors with the e-tag thing! If this is a tax on people, there shouldnt be any type of BEE on this as it is run by state, not by business.

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-15 14:34

    They can use the R30billion stolen by corrupt politicians and officials to pay for this debt, thieving bastards!

      MduXman - 2012-02-26 10:34

      the money stolen could easily cover this cost. our government is big on taking and corruption

  • acsteyn - 2012-01-15 14:38

    WOW. I can just see it. The paw paw is about to strike the fan and now everyone is running for cover, and may I assume some have already found it. And poor, poor Ndebele is is sitting there like a stick insect with big bulging eyes saying it's not my fault and I did not approve it? Well you know what, it is your fault cause you did not stop it. I assume you don't like the idea of tolls either? CVan't remember you saying that? Run Boet that Paw Paw is coming and you are going to be hit hard by the loose pips.

  • Trevor - 2012-01-15 14:40

    No surprise here. He has never had one in his life! ('idea' that is)

  • Andre - 2012-01-15 14:47

    I think that only the poor must pay for these tolls. They voted anc ne. Easy - Only taxis must pay

  • Irene - 2012-01-15 14:57

    Isn't this the same clown who called motorists a 'bunch of spoilt brats' a little while ago? Besides all the obvious things the transport circus has done incorrectly, one of their biggest mistakes was to let taxis drive for freeee. The mere fact that some are more equal than others is cause enough to turn the highways into one big parking lot!

  • Heinrich - 2012-01-15 15:03

    How was the billions of Rand in fuel levy revenue applied during the current ministerial term? Would this current minister distanced himself if Cosatu did not register disapproval? Is it ANC fear of losing a voting partner? The ANC,and particularly this "it wasn't me" can be very dismissive of petitions. Remember how they treated our 'Blue light brigade' petition? How exactly was R30bn spent, and on who's approval?

  • Howard - 2012-01-15 15:06

    I just don't get it. Is Ndebele not the very same person who previously said "If you don't like price of the tolls, take a taxi, bus or train"? Now he has the audacity to say it wasn't his idea and he is sympathetic to the plight of the very same Gautengers he previously lambasted. He seems to be of the impression that by saying something else, he can miraculously un-say what he has said before. How can anyone be expected to respect a person like Ndeble who runs with the hares and hunts with the hounds - depending on which way the wind is blowing? At 63 years old, he has past his prime and obviously has Alzheimer’s since he can’t remember what he has said before. It’s high time that he retired and made way for someone who may just have the interests of the country and road users at heart.

      Kenneth M Roselt - 2012-01-15 15:42

      I agree, it seems he thinks we are all stupid. This will be another case of been taken out of context. I think if those idiots that did register hadn't noticed, we'd all be getting fleeced. One has to wonder what they're going to come up with next, and if Jo'burg's people will again stand up to them. Or if they'll find a way to not give us that choice. If they do, remove them from power, let's show them that without us, they are nothing.

      Phillie - 2012-01-15 20:29

      2 maseratifittipaldi Do you really think there is "someone"in the anc cadres that fits your wish of: "...that he retired and made way for someone who may just have the interests of the country and road users at heart." I surmise that no one but no one has any other interest than getting fat and rich from the taxpayers sweat

  • michael.e.bowery - 2012-01-15 15:17

    We are seeing the benefit of mass action so beloved of the ANC faithfuls and indeed Gandhi of the past. SIMPLY DON"T PAY. Who were the '213000 idiots who registered? They should lose their licences for the next five years. We have no power to do anything with this majority government except by NOT PAYING.

      Morakane - 2012-01-15 17:03

      Strength in numbers! If we all unite, they cant do anything about it. We out-number them. They will be forced into finding other alternative ways to pay for that loan! Like lambs we wont be brought to the slaughter.

  • Piet - 2012-01-15 15:31

    Ndebele, when we needed your understanding and empathy you showed us the finger. It will cause your end end and the end to the Billions flowing in the pocets of a few. The poor always stop bad governance. You need examples of what happened Internationally last year???

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-01-15 15:48

    you know what i think the devil approved it we should come to a understanding that Satan and his followers is the third force in this matter, now who will get rid of Satan there is no political will to get rid of him

      Ari - 2012-01-15 16:01

      WTF?? Satan?? What has some mythical christian god got to do with toll roads? Apart from which, if satan was gotten rid of, what would christianity have left to do? All the poor priests and other parasites wouyld starve.

      Irene - 2012-01-15 16:15

      Ari ~ Ever heard of lateral thinking?

      Ari - 2012-01-15 18:10

      @ Irene - Like maybe we should blame the Anunnaki?

  • Anthony - 2012-01-15 15:59

    If NOBODY in authority approved of the tolling of the Gauteng freeways, than , WHO DID ??? The owner of the corner cafe' ??? Bastard !!!!!!!

  • pws69 - 2012-01-15 16:05

    Not forgetting that over 60% of the revenue generated will be going to the AUSTRIAN company that built it - FOREVER. I'll bet that the ANC have a British Virgin Islands company that is a secret partner in the venture.

  • Wendy - 2012-01-15 16:07

    Now starts the blaming game .. never take responsibility .. that is the strategy of our ruling party.

      Irene - 2012-01-15 16:16

      Quite correct Wendy and when that fails it's the apartheid card that gets pulled and when that fails there's always 'culture' to fall back on.

  • bradleybrits - 2012-01-15 16:16

    Not interested in registering for this! I'll register when taxis pay like we do for the use of the road.. Do they not also benefit from new highways? Do they not also put wear and tear on the roads? So why should they be exempt? I'll drive non-tole roads and screw them!

      Wendy - 2012-01-15 16:20

      Now there's an idea, we can drive on non toll roads and the taxis can have the highways .. yay at last a decent drive to work!

  • mikeangell61 - 2012-01-15 16:34

    EISH!!! Its not me!!Typical.

  • Gerda - 2012-01-15 17:12

    Apartheid is always being blamed for all that's negative but those days our roads where in much better condition and were maintained. Now the fat cats ate all the taxpayers money, the coffin depleted, roads in a terrible mess and NOW again the anorexic taxpayer to be milked again. The ministers will be exempted by means of a pass so they afford to use those toll roads.This time everyone should unite and show solidarity with Cosatu and any other opposition party that opposes the implementation thereof. Let our dissatisfied voices be heard.

  • Jacqui - 2012-01-15 17:57

    Make it 10 cents a kilometer and everyone will be happy to pay it...

      Thomas - 2012-01-15 18:18

      Jaqui, you already pay fuel levy taxes. It is not only the daily commuter who pay this bill. How do you think the things you buy like food and clothing get to the stores. By truck of course. You wanna pay for that again as well, the retailers will just work it into the consumer price. Stand together people let's all unite on this and fight not to pay, if we give in where will this stop.

  • grenville.felton - 2012-01-15 18:18

    Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele a fool . This has blown up in your face, would like to know what cabinet ministers were going to benefit from the etoll gravy boat.

  • Adam - 2012-01-15 19:26

    I think it was zumas idea,if the courts are full he wont be given his day, which he avoided like the plague.

  • Andre - 2012-01-15 19:49

    How the hell can SANRAL just continue with such an expensive project affecting just about everything in this country, high-jacking existing roads which the government is supposed to maintain with our sky-high taxes and the public must just fork out witjout being consulyted. There many other more acceptable ways of resolving the road infrastructure issues than blerry toll roads. The national road between Welkom and Bloem has also been high-jacked and is now another toll road! This is rubbish and it is all about the greedyness of despotes and mamparas. We have to stop this. People are dying of hunger, how the hell will they be able to afford all these tollfees and the impact it will have on basic food items? You F.. are crazy!!!

  • Den - 2012-01-15 19:55

    The tolls were put in to pay for R20billion upgrade. But why spend R14billion for build and collect. This is the scam. Names will be published before the year is out as the greedy pricks have spent the cash they were expecting. Now they are in trouble if the contract is not completed.

  • ArchAngel - 2012-01-15 20:30

    "Insiders said the fact that only 213 000 of the estimated 2.2 million Gauteng motorists had registered" 213000 traitors to your cause if you ask me. Why on earth have these fools registered even though they are still paying a PETROL LEVY? QUISLINGS!!!

      MduXman - 2012-02-26 10:40

      it could be official government vehicles, municipal transporters, ministerial cars ect...what we must all do now is SUPPORT COSATU AND NUMSA ON THE STRIKE PLANS.

  • SeeVeeDeeEl - 2012-01-15 20:49

    The sheer mind-blowing stupidity of the AFRICAN National Congress "RULERS". Ndebele is just as bad as any of them. But remember, they are put their by the electorate, time after time. Which means the vast majority of voters in South Africa is just plain stupid. Too stupid, in fact, to have the privilege to vote.

  • Bert - 2012-01-15 21:10

    Just been reading about a R250m scam on text books in Limpopo, including a R20m deposit. Where did this money come from? more importantly where did it go? I know this is a drop in the ocean compared to R20b needed to close this project. But, look back over very recent years at all the millions that have been scammed away by crooked politicians, none more so than in two of our poorest Provinces, Limpopo and Eastern Cape and you will see R20b could hav e ben easily attainable. Viva SA, Viva ANC, Vauxhall Viva!!!

  • Gerhard - 2012-01-15 21:40

    He should no longer be paid and resign from the ANC immediately because he no longer agrees with government or ANC. What is wrong with principles and honour?

      MduXman - 2012-02-26 10:41

      he was suppose to take this one for the team. he was wrong to shift the blame. we all know its not his fault. but his part of the team. his a traiter.

  • Brad.Kopping - 2012-01-15 23:18

    20 BILLION RAND? imagine how many RDP houses you could build with that amount of money? still vote for the cANCer. You know you do actually have a democratic right to vote for another party??!! you might as well just sell your vote since it counts for nothin if you keep voting with an organisation that cant even get tolling right.

  • Fenderbender - 2012-01-16 07:25

    another lie by another liar, whats new

  • Pieter Kunz - 2012-01-16 07:32

    Didnt ndebele said a couple of months back that we are spoiled brads and we should pay for using highways including that e tolling is a done deal. I personally feel that SANRAL needs to pay for the tolls themselves as they forced this on the public. Make up your mind Ndebele!!

      Pieter Kunz - 2012-01-16 07:59


  • jack.kukard - 2012-01-16 08:29

    Add 20c per litre for fuel and then everybody that uses the roads pays for it ...easy , even the taxi's

  • jerry.pres - 2012-01-16 08:43

    Toll fees are all over world, but SA system is total rip off. For example in Austria you can purchase ticket for whole year for 77.8 Euros. In Switzerland for 40CHF per year , in Germany only vehicles over 12t pay toll fees in Czech republic R 600 per year.I am not mind to pay for using highways, but give us options. Charge per km is absolutely stupid idea.Increase by 400 Rand license fees and you can use highways as you need for whole year. I am sure no one will really be hurt so badly, to pay R 400 per year per car. If you take 9.5 mil cars on the roads in South Africa, you can collect R 3800000000.00 per year.

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-01-16 08:49

    The Freedom Charter, 1955 The law shall guarantee to all their right to speak, to organize, to meet together, to publish, to preach, to worship, and to educate their children; The privacy of the house from police raids shall be protected by law; All shall be free to travel without restriction from countryside to towns, from province to province, and from South Africa abroad; Pass laws, permits and all other laws restricting these freedoms shall be abolished. Now Sir, what are the common law right we have as far as using the roads is . concerned? As far as I can find, only those using the roads for commerce should pay tolls or buy licences

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-01-16 08:51

    The "position" made the decision, thus it was you.

  • Martin - 2012-01-16 09:13

    Im going to pay full price knowing they will spend a large percentage posting my bill to me, f-u sanral,

  • kobie.nel1 - 2012-01-16 10:07

    “Phase one is done. Someone has got to pay one way or the other...." NICE, then I can just build on to my house, buy a farm and a new car, ... and "Someone has got to pay one way or the other"...but not me. The fool public must just pay because "I say so and have the power to make you".

  • derrickvanz - 2012-01-16 10:50

    200 000 registered e toll tags are mostly government vehicles, to create the illusion that there are people out there that will register. Don't buy e tags or register, we will oppose this draconian measure. How many profiteered or got kickbacks for and from this. More than we will ever know and I for one will not pay for some ANC fat cat's new car or house. The buck stops with the people and we should oppose this collectively ANC, DA or AWB, it does not matter what political party you are affiliated with! It’s the principle that counts!

  • Silvana - 2012-01-16 15:00

    Sounds like a circus without a ringmaster. Why go ahead with a project if you know the government is not backing you? Someone intends making big bucks on this project. I'm standing by Cosatu on this one. You go Vavi!

  • ISO - 2012-01-16 20:02

    Hey you should move to the Eastern Cape, we have no toll roads here!

      Hugh - 2012-01-17 16:53

      not yet, its planed and in the pipe line.

  • MduXman - 2012-02-26 10:29

    if government was to stop corruption the money for this tolls would be there. But stealing and corruption is the order of the day in government.

  • MduXman - 2012-02-26 10:45

    lets all SUPPORT COSATU and NUMSA on the STRIKE plans next month. No one must buy another e-tag. These will GO DOWN.

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