Sapa
2 minute read
4 Mar 2015
10:41 am

DA protests against e-tolls (Update)

Sapa

Around 100 people gathered in front of Gauteng premier David Makhura's office in central Johannesburg on Wednesday morning to picket against his failure to call for a referendum on e-tolls.

Supporters of the Democratic Alliance march outside Gauteng premier David Makhura’s office in central Johannesburg. Picture: TanyaHeydenrych/Twitter

“Zuma thupa e etla (Zuma a beating is coming),” picketers wearing blue Democratic Alliance T-shirts sang in Sotho.

Other DA supporters blew whistles and waved flags in Simmonds Street, while most held posters that read: “Referendum now”.

They later began chanting: “We don’t want e-tolls, we don’t”.

DA Gauteng leader John Moodey was expected to address the crowd later in the morning before handing a memorandum to Makhura.

In his state-of-the-province address last week, Makhura promised “major financial relief” to motorists.

“The provincial government is part of the current consultation process… to develop a better dispensation which will mitigate the negative impact of the e-tolls on the people of Gauteng, especially the middle and lower income groups,” he said at the time.

“I am confident that the new dispensation should provide major financial relief to motorists, while simplifying the payment system to make it easy for road users to pay.”

The provincial government was part of talks about e-tolls being led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He said the final decision on the new dispensation would be made once the intergovernmental team had completed its work, after receiving a report from the e-toll review panel.

Call for fuel levy instead of tolls

The Democratic Alliance on Wednesday called for a fuel levy to pay for roads, instead of e-tolls, during a protest outside Gauteng premier David Makhura’s office.

“We do want to pay for them [the roads] by a dedicated, ring-fenced national fuel levy,” the party’s spokesman for roads and transport Neil Campbell said during a picket by about 100 DA supporters in Simmonds Street, central Johannesburg.

He asked who was getting rich from the e-tolls.

“We reject the e-tolls with the contempt they deserve.”

He said because of apartheid-era spacial planning, the poor were paying the most for transport.

Makhura’s suggestion of a hybrid system would increase in cost year after a year, he said.

DA provincial chairman Solly Msimanga compared the relationship between Gauteng’s residents and the e-toll system to the relationship between a battered wife and her partner.

The abuse, by the government and its e-toll system, started slowly, but people would continue to accept it, even if it got worse.

He said the premier was not listening to what the province’s people wanted.

“Instead of listening to us they’re doing what the previous government did to us,” he said.

“This is an unwanted way of collecting money for the roads.”

The DA called for Makhura to hold a referendum on the system.