“That panel will do its work and its report must be implemented,” he told the party’s provincial elective conference in Pretoria.
“We are going to ensure as Gauteng that we have discussion with the head office (Luthuli House) to ensure that we move together with the national government.
“We cannot close our eyes in Gauteng when our people have problems. If anybody is going to come to me and say ‘don’t discuss e-tolls’, I won’t agree. We must be the first as ANC to say to our people we have heard you.”
He said government agencies like the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) did not run the country.
“It’s not that I don’t like Sanral, but they must know their place. Government agencies don’t run the country, but the ANC does. I don’t like government agencies that take on politicians.
“They must go and be elected first. We appoint officials to implement the policies of the ANC. Sanral cannot tell us what to do. We tell them what to do,” Mashatile said to applause and whistling.
Following his remarks the transport department said national government through Sanral, made policy and legislation, and provincial government implemented it.
“There’s only one centre of policy-making as far as government is concerned and that’s national government,” department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said.
“The division of mandate is quite clear as far as policy-making is concerned. Among other things, that particular mandate gives authority to the department of transport, through Sanral, to operate tolling so far as the 201km of the road network in question in Gauteng is concerned.”
Rikhotso said the e-tolls review panel was set up by Gauteng premier David Makhura to examine the economic and social impact of the tolling system, and not review the e-toll policy itself, which only national government could do.
Speaking at the conference, Mashatile said the review panel’s work would be used to determine the best financing model for public infrastructure in the province.
He said Makhura had briefed Zuma on the panel before establishing it.
“Some people were running around saying we are raising this matter of e-tolls to embarrass President Jacob Zuma. We can never do that.”
The review panel is intended to examine the economic and social impact of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and the electronic tolling system set up to fund it. It is expected to present its findings to Makhura at the end of November.
ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa told the conference government officials should not ignore complaints by the general public.
“The ANC has always distinguished itself as a listening organisation. We are not an arrogant organisation. We are the organisation of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo,” he said.
“We must go and listen to our people. We must also acknowledge statements of dissatisfaction that may come from our people, with great humility.”
He said during the 2014 election campaign even Zuma “went down on his knees” listening to citizens’ complaints.