Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to announce a “new dispensation” on the controversial freeway system in parliament today, according to his spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa.
“The new e-tolls dispensation is a product of extensive public consultation, deliberations with government and approval by Cabinet,” said Mamoepa. Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage said yesterday he was anticipating Ramaphosa to announce a partial funding for e-tags.
“The e-tolls have failed and we wanted them to be scrapped, but we know that will not happen,” said Duvenage. “They must reduce the fees, but we are saying reducing something that is bad does not make it any better.
“The costs are up and we expect to hear what the advisory panel recommended.”
Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) was also at the forefront of the efforts that opposed e-tolls long before they were implemented. Cosatu’s acting spokesperson Norman Mampane yesterday said the trade union federation was sticking to a resolution adopted at its previous congress that the system was a form of privatisation of state goods.
“We have always been arguing that the e-tolls would impact negatively on the workers because most of them rely on public transport. We will wait until the announcement and comment [set to be tabled today by Ramaphosa],” said Mampane.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura appointed an advisory panel on e-tolls which assessed the socioeconomic impact of the system and made findings and recommendations early this year.
The findings partly indicated that the implementation of the Gauteng freeway improvement project benefited the country’s economy and the people at large by reducing travel time.
The main recommendation was that elements of the current e-tolls system must be reviewed to address the questions of affordability, equity, administrative simplicity and sustainability.