South Africa launches contentious road tolls -E-tolls

December 3, 2013

Africa, Did you know?, International

Motorists again urged to buy e-tags
E-tolls lead to South Africa traffic jams

South Africa Toll Roads


Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has again appealed to motorists who have not bought their e-tags for tolled Gauteng highways, to register.

She was speaking after major traffic jams were reported on alternative routes as people tried to avoid the e-toll routes on Tuesday.

Frequent road users with e-tags will pay a maximum of R450 (US $43.43) a month.

Motorists with e-tags, using light vehicles, will pay 30 cents (US  0.03¢) per kilometre.

Those without a tag will, however, have to pay 59 cents  (US  0.06¢) a kilometre.

Taxis and buses are exempted from tolling.

Meanwhile, the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) says an investigation has revealed that problems experienced on its website stem from the financial transaction option.

Sanral says users must alter the settings on their computers if they are unable to register for e-tolls on the website.
Video: South Africa’s e-tolling system to take effect on Dec 3, 2013

Video: South Africa’s contentious toll road system 

Video: South Africa- Freeway toll road congestion

Video: Economists in South Africa are for E-Tolls

Video: The cost of e-tolling


South Africa E-Toll

Background to e-toll

The South African national road network, managed by the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) forms the arteries of the nation that connect major cities, towns and developing villages in rural areas of the country. The major benefits of the national road network are economic growth, tourism, social development and the creation of economic opportunities.

SANRAL has two main revenue streams. Firstly, from the national fiscus, which is used for the management of 81% of national roads in South Africa, which are non-tolled roads. Secondly, from the collection of toll fees, which is exclusively used for the management of the 19% of national roads, which are declared tolled roads.

The challenging reality of current demands on the national fiscus, is that insufficient financial resources are available to implement capital intensive projects (such as the GFIP). The most equitable way to pay for the road improvements is through a “user-pay” principle.

Two options are available for raising debt for a toll scheme. There are private project financing through public private partnerships (PPPs) whereby the design, construction and financing, as well as operation and maintenance of the road is done by a concessionaire, or the procurement of finance and development of the toll road by the state itself.

For the upgrading and expansion of a freeway network, both types of toll schemes are evaluated and the most feasible is implemented.

When implementing a toll road, SANRAL raises funds by the issuing of bonds on the open markets to fund the initial capital costs, the interest of the initial capital costs, as well as operations, future upgrades and maintenance of the declared toll road.


There are various ways in which to collect toll:

Conventional Toll Collection

Road users stop along a road or highway to pay a toll fee at a toll plaza.

Electronic Toll Collection (ETC)

ETC is the process whereby a vehicle is identified electronically by means of an e-tag, the vehicle licence plate number or other electronic means in order to affect the payment of toll. No cash toll transactions take place along a road or highway. Also known as e-toll, these toll transactions are done electronically. There are two types of ETC used in South Africa, namely “Boom-down” Electronic Toll Collection and Open Road Tolling.

“Boom – down” Electronic Toll Collection

“Boom-down” ETC is implemented at conventional toll plazas and vehicles must be fitted with an e-tag. The road user needs to slow down when entering the toll plaza area, select the lane marked with the e-tag sign, the technical equipment located on the roof of the toll plaza recognises the e-tag in the vehicle, equipment verifies the e-tag, toll is deducted from a toll account, the boom lifts and the vehicle passes through the toll plaza without having to stop.

Open Road Tolling (ORT)

ORT is a multi-lane free flow electronic tolling system that allows for tolls to be collected without vehicles having to stop or slow down i.e. there are no physical toll booths. Overhead gantries are fitted with toll collection equipment that recognises the e-tag and the vehicle licence plate number of the vehicle. Toll is deducted from a user’s registered e-toll Account associated with the vehicle and the user will be able to travel without any disruption. As part of the verification process images will be taken of the front and rear number plates as well as the top of the vehicle. The gantry equipment also measures the vehicle in order to classify it.

Gauteng, which has over 3.5 million registered vehicles and a traffic count that ranges between 80,000 and 200,000 vehicles on different highway sections daily, is the first province in South Africa to benefit from Open Road Tolling.

Gauteng e-road

 i-TRAFFIC and travel website
Traffic Cams


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