The resistance to the concept of e-tolling in Gauteng has risen, hydra-headed, yet again to snap at government’s intransigence to any idea of doing away with the system that cost a staggering R20 billion in public funding to upgrade 201km of road.
During the three-day provincial general council of the Gauteng ANC, which ended in Pretoria at the weekend, members instructed party chairperson Paul Mashatile and Premier David Makhura to rectify the impasse, flatly stating they could not afford it.
The urging of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and discount incentives to pay up seem to have had no clear effect on toll-fee collection.
Neither have threats by operator Sanral to prosecute nonpayment. The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, which has consistently opposed e-tolls, has slammed what it terms Sanral’s “dodgy summonses” to defaulters and has gone as far as to say it will help defend any actions brought to the courts for nonpayment.
There is clearly no meeting of minds on an issue of both political and fiscal sensitivity, and the phoney war continues as salvo after salvo is fired by the opposing sides. But equally clear is the inescapable truth that the standoff has to be solved.