Gauteng Premier David Makhura, whose stance is that he is opposed to e-tolling, is still “not playing the role he ought to” in putting more pressure on national government to end the system, advocacy organisations charge.
Makhura, in his state of the province address on Monday, said provincial government would “continue to engage” the national government on the e-toll issue.
“We have done everything in our power to resolve this matter. But the resolution here lies in the hands of national government,” he said.
The provincial government was mobilising resources for public infrastructure that would ensure the “mistakes” made with e-tolls were not repeated.
“We can’t build roads and only later inform citizens that they must pay. In fact, there will be no e-tolls on our new roads.”
Makhura said e-tolling – which funds the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project – was implemented without proper public consultation and “people should not be told after a project is finished that they have to pay for it”.
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) chairperson Wayne Duvenage called for the premier to up the pressure on Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
“It’s nice for the premier to agree with us that the scheme required the necessary consultation and input from the people. This is one of the reasons we say it has been introduced unlawfully. However, we do agree with him that he can’t wash his hands of the issue,” Duvenage said.
“While it is, indeed, a national issue, the impact the e-tolls has on his province is significant enough for the premier to put the minister under pressure to resolve this issue. A premier who is on record as being very anti the e-toll decision from the beginning is not playing the role he ought to in resolving this matter.
“Remember, it has failed and there is less than 20% compliance … Additionally, the provincial government is paying around R230 million per annum to the SA National Roads Agency for the tolls. Just as it was possible for the City of Cape Town to halt the toll road decision in Western Cape so, too, it could have been the case if the local or provincial authorities had challenged the matter.”
Justice Project SA chairperson Howard Dembovsky added that Makhura’s admittance was a “a superbly good start to finding a way to put right the mistake”.
“One can only hope that the premier’s colleagues who are higher up the food chain, as well as the arrogant individuals at Sanral, will also come to realise this instead of continuing to seek to wage war with motorists who drive on these freeways.”
DA Gauteng provincial leader John Moodey said “Makhura’s admission that no consultation had taken place on e-tolls showed “he has capitulated to his masters in Luthuli House”.