Transport minister Blade Nzimande says those who can afford to pay e-tolls must do so.
The Department of Transport (DoT) on Tuesday briefed Parliament’s committee on the annual performance plan for the 2018/19 financial year.
He said it is "inappropriate" to scrap the user-pay principle entirely. "It is like demanding free higher education for all, it is not progressive. Those who can afford to pay, must pay."
He said there were complexities to the matter to considered for the way forward.
He is worried about the funding of road infrastructure development for the next 15 to 20 years.
"One of the bigger issues I have been thinking about, which is an ongoing issue, arises from the GFIP (Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project). How do we move forward in the next 15 to 20 years? How do we raise finance for road infrastructure?” he asked.
Nzimande explained it was a “big issue” especially considering the user-pay principle. “There are usually debates around the user-pay principle. Who pays?
“We will have to come up with a strategy of funding road construction and maintenance programmes on a sustainable basis,” he said.
Nzimande explained that priority should be placed on the maintenance of roads, which are often so run-down they have to be rebuilt “from scratch”. “The lack of maintenance costs us dearly.”
He added that road maintenance had the potential to create jobs and support local economic development, especially in rural areas. Service delivery should also be more integrated, involving communities in service delivery.