Gauteng transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo says a decision on the scrapping of e-tolls in the province has not yet been taken by the government, but is “imminent”.
SAFM reported on Thursday morning Mamabolo announced that a decision had been taken to scrap e-tolls in the province.
Speaking to The Citizen, the MEC said SAFM Sunrise host Stephen Grootes distorted his comments in their interview.
“I didn’t say the e-tolls have been scrapped. I said we have been told the announcement is imminent, this has been said many times and then that announcement can be made,” Mamabolo said.
“Stephen distorted my conversation with him to say the announcement has been made, but I never said that.”
On #SAfmSunrise now: Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo: we are living in post-etolls era…e-tolls are a thing of the past…they’re being scrapped…the people of Gauteng should not be burdened with paying national roads.
— Stephen Grootes (@StephenGrootes) May 27, 2021
Mamabolo said the Gauteng provincial government wanted a decision to be made on the matter soon. However, no deadline has been set.
The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project has been a bone of contention since it was introduced back in 2013.
Civil society organisations, including the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), and Gauteng motorists have stood firm on their vow not to pay e-tolls. This is due to concerns over the lack of proper public consultation before the system was introduced on the province’s freeways.
Outa said on Twitter it would wait for an official press statement from Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and the Presidency on e-tolls.
“We are careful to celebrate before it’s official,” the organisation said.
While @OUTA would LOVE for this to be true after our intense fight to get #etolls scrapped, we must point out that we are waiting for minister of Transport @MbalulaFikile (or @David_Makhura or @PresidencyZA) to issue a statement. We are careful to celebrate before it’s official. https://t.co/GmUCDSzLaQ
— OUTA (@OUTASA) May 27, 2021
E-toll decision is imminent, says Mbalula, again
The back and forth between the Treasury and transport department has seen the government miss its own deadline on the announcement of the future of e-tolls in Gauteng.
Last week, Mbalula said a decision was imminent after he missed the two-week deadline he set for the decision.
“I have presented nine possible solutions to the e-tolls impasse which I inherited. It is not easy because if it was easy, a solution could have now been pronounced.
“The government is on the verge of resolving this matter and the national Treasury has been mandated to work with us to resolve this matter,” Mbalula said in Parliament while delivering his budget vote speech.
Attempts to get comment from Mbalula’s spokesperson Ayanda-Allie Paine were unsuccessful as her phone went unanswered.
The Gauteng provincial government has been calling for the scrapping of e-tolls for a while now, saying it would “spare no effort” to oppose any attempts that seek to bring back e-tolls in the province.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has often argued for Gauteng road users to pay for e-tolls because it is government policy.