Gauteng’s Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo has taken many by surprise this morning, after he announced live on-air that e-tolls ‘would be scrapped’ in the near future. It marks the most comprehensive statement of intent from local government in quite sometime – and points to the end of the road for the controversial system.

E-tolls set to expire?

The e-tolls, introduced in 2013, have been a major flop. Compliance levels remain low, and not enough money is being generated by the toll plazas to make them worthwhile. For years, senior politicians have promised to bring the scheme to an end – only to renege on promises conveniently made during election campaigns.

SANRAL’s big gamble of the gantries has not paid off. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula had previously vowed to come to a conclusion on the future of e-tolls this month – but it would seem he has been upstaged by his provincial colleague.

Jacob Mamabolo lets the cat out of the bag

Appearing on SAfm earlier this morning, Mamabolo was outspoken in his utterances. He confirmed that his department now sees e-tolls as ‘a thing of the past’, and told host Stephen Grootes that the payments would soon be ‘scrapped’

“We are living in a post e-tolls era. E-tolls are a thing of the past…they’re being scrapped…the people of Gauteng should not be burdened with paying national roads.”

No celebration for e-tolls opponents just yet…

However, the Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) – who has campaigned fiercely against e-tolls – expressed caution over the announcement on Thursday. For the moment, they’ll be keeping their champagne on ice.

“While OUTA would LOVE for this to be true after our intense fight to get e-tolls scrapped, we must point out that we are waiting for the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula or Gauteng Premier David Makhura to issue a statement. We are careful to celebrate before it’s official…”

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Presh JM Reporter

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