New KZN tolls have been put on hold in the province by the KwaZulu-Natal government.
This was revealed by the Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu as he told the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) officials during a business update briefing in Pietermaritzburg which was held on Friday.
According to him, the KZN government will not allow the introduction of any new KZN tolls in the province as this would increase the cost of doing business in the province and in turn discourage investors.
Sanral is on the verge of investing about R15-billion on upgrading the N3 from Durban to Cedara‚ outside of Pietermaritzburg.
Currently, the roads agency has invested R8.3-billion in construction‚ which includes the new N2 North Coast interchange between Mtunzini and Mtubaba which cost of R1.4-billion‚ among other projects that the agency is working on.
The KZN MEC also took a swipe at Sanral over the lack of consultation on the issue of newly introduced Shesha lanes‚ which are automated and used tags as a form of payment instead of motorists paying raw cash to cashiers.
The KwaZulu-Natal wing of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) protested at the Mariannhill toll-plaza last week‚ calling for the removal of the aforementioned Shesha lane.
Transport MEC Willies Mchunu said that although the province had entertained consultations about the Shesha lanes‚ no further changes should be made on tolls without further consultation.
In his response to this‚ Sanral’s board chairperson Roshan Morar said there will be no new KZN tolls in the province.
He emphasised that funding for all new projects was allocated from the investment and concession fees, while priority projects must be self-funded.
Morar said the rollout of the Shesha lanes was still up for discussion. He also mentioned that the e-tag lane at the Marianhill Plaza in KwaZulu-Natal has been a success as it eased congestion at the tall plaza.
According to a poll carried out, about 70% of motorists wanted it.