South Africa 28.9.2013 07:00 am

DA up in arms about e-tolling

Despite the scorching African sun, scores of Democratic Alliance (DA) supporters yesterday chanted slogans and waved posters with messages opposing the controversial e-tolling system in Gauteng.

DA supporters protested next to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) offices in Modderfontein on the East Rand against the pending implementation of e-tolling on Gauteng’s freeways.

The posters read: “Vote against e-tolls in 2014”.

Motorists hooted and shouted at the Modderfontein off-ramp, voicing disapproval over the e-tolling system which President Jacob Zuma signed into law with the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill this week, a move described as paving the way for Sanral to launch the controversial project.

The announcement came as the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) took its fight to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The court had reserved judgment on whether the e-tolling of Gauteng’s freeways should be reviewed.

DA’s national spokesman, Mmusi Maimane, slammed Zuma’s decision to sign the Bill into law, saying “it was an act of cowardice for which we cannot forgive him”.

“Our president chose to make this announcement far away from the people of this province. And he announced it on the very same day as a court case to test the legality of implementing e-tolling.

“It was a slap in the face to all of us who oppose e-tolls. I am yet to meet anybody who supports e-tolling,” he said. “In a democracy, the people must be heard. In a democracy, the people must have a voice. Government has silenced us and charged us for the privilege,” Maimane said.

He vowed that the DA will leave no stone unturned in the fight against the controversial e-tolling system in Gauteng. Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona declined to comment.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions yesterday also issued a statement, saying “our campaign of mass action will now be raised to a higher level of intensity”. The union federation called on road users not to buy e-tags, calling the system a “form of privatisation, turning what ought to be a publicly-funded essential service into a commodity”.

 

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