The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng will on Friday lead a ‘People’s March’ to the Union Buildings in Tshwane in protest of e-tolls, corruption, fuel hikes, VAT increases and other concerns that “have a direct influence on the high cost of living”.
The ANC Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC) said in a statement on Tuesday, following its meeting at the weekend, that the ANC-led march is supported by the governing party’s alliance partners – the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the South African Communist Party (SACP), and the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco).
The PEC said it had been directed by the 13th Gauteng Conference “to launch a common programme of action and campaigns” to address these concerns which impact on people’s cost of living, which include the cost of data, rapid land release, public transport, and crime.
Participants are expected to gather at Burgers Park – corner Lillian Ngoyi and Minaar Styrets – at 9am before marching to the Union Buildings where a memorandum will be handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the PEC statement reads.
“We are satisfied that all systems are in place to ensure a successful march on Friday.”
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has labelled the so-called People’s March as “just another election ploy” by the ANC ahead of next year’s general elections.
In a statement on Thursday, the DA’s Gauteng premier candidate and city of Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga said it is ironic that the ANC is “marching against their own government that implemented e-tolls without consulting the people of Gauteng”.
“If the tripartite alliance is serious about scrapping the e-tolls in Gauteng then they should put pressure on their SACP Secretary-General and Transport Minister, Blade Nzimande, to end the e-toll contract that is due to expire in December.
“They should also put pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa to ensure that this contract is ended immediately.”
Msimanga said it is evident that e-tolls have failed and so should be scrapped. An alternative to funding the maintenance of roads in the province should be found. He added that the increases in food prices, petrol, and the recent VAT hike means the people of Gauteng cannot afford to pay for e-tolls.
What is most concerning, Msimanga said, about the e-toll contract is that a lion’s share of the money collected by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) goes to the collection agent “which is not even based in South Africa”.
“It’s projected that only 7% goes to Sanral, while 93% goes to the Electronic Toll Collections Joint Venture Consortium with Kapsch TrafficCom,” Msimanga said.
The ANC-led national and Gauteng governments, Msimanga said, “are not singing from the same hymn sheet” because Finance Minister Tito Mboweni last week urged road users in the province to pay their tolls so roads can be maintained, while Gauteng Premier David Makhura “a day later indicated that e-tolls have no future in Gauteng and that an alternative must be found”.
“This clearly indicates that e-tolls are once again being used as voting fodder ahead of 2019 General elections,” Msimanga said.
According to Msimanga, the e-tolls in the province will struggle to fetch R900 million this year “which is substantively lower than the R3 billion required per annum, to achieve their intended targets”.
“The fact that Sanral had to resort to taking legal action to collect a mere R10.231 million is a clear indication that Gauteng residents are unable to pay their e-toll accounts,” Msimanga said.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)