Get ready for a six-hour commute between Johannesburg and Pretoria by 2037 if no more roads are built in Gauteng by then.
This according to Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) chief executive Coenie Vermaak. ETC collects tolls in Gauteng on behalf of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral).
“If no further roads are built [in the province] then the average speed by 2037 will be under 10km/h. That means you are going to drive six hours from Johannesburg to Pretoria,” he said.
Vermaak said the current average speed was four times faster, at just less than 45km/h.
“What we foresee is that instead of having peak-time traffic for about 90 minutes twice a day, you’re going to have peak-time traffic all day.
“People are going to be less productive.”
Vermaak said more cars on the roads and a growing middle class were some of the factors putting more pressure on the roads.
“We see a daily increase of about 220 vehicles on the road network. There is a constant increased demand for more roads to increase traffic flow and allow more vehicles,” he said.
“People’s travel patterns have changed and vehicles are driving for longer on the road network than they did seven or eight years ago.”
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said during in his medium-term budget policy statement in October that South Africans must pay tolls if they want decent roads.
“Government remains committed to the user-pay principle because it is the most efficient and effective way to ensure that the direct benefits of services are paid for by those who use them.”
BusinessLIVE reported that transport minister Blade Nzimande said in parliament on Wednesday that government has not decided to scrap e-tolls.
Nzimande said President Cyril Ramaphosa instructed him to talk to stakeholders in a bid to resolve the impasse of non-payment of e-tolls, which threatened the finances of Sanral and the continued maintenance of road infrastructure.
BusinessLIVE reported last month that the battle between Sanral and civil society organisation Outa over e-tolling is heating up.
The cost of the 185km Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project escalated from R20bn in 2008, when it borrowed from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), to about R48bn in 2017. It now stands at about R67bn.
Outa wants e-tolling scrapped, while Sanral is issuing summonses to defaulting motorists. Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said earlier that summonses to recover about R500m have been issued.
Sanral reported a R260m annual loss last month, down sharply from R4.96bn in the previous year.