Mbalula steps up talks on scrapping e-tolls

Mbalula steps up talks on scrapping e-tolls

Motorists drive through an e-toll gantry along the N1 near Bergbron, 7 September 2017. Picture: Michel Bega

Government was in consultations with Outa and other lobby bodies, business as well as trade unions, the minister said.

Engagements on the scrapping of e-tolls are set to intensify next week, according to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The minister said the process was taking place in a politically polarised environment, but government was seriously considering an end to the ailing toll system.

E-tolls were introduced in part to fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, which began in 2007 as a means to ease Gauteng traffic.

Mbalula had been leading engagements on ways to save this cash-strapped project, given that motorists basically crippled the e-toll system by simply not paying, despite mounting bills.

Organisations such as the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) have run campaigns against e-tolling since its inception.

The topic had also formed major parts of the political campaigns of opposition parties. It now appears they are one step closer to realising their goal of having the controversial system scrapped.

“Next week we are intensifying consultation,” said Mbalula.

Government was in consultations with Outa and other lobby bodies, business as well as trade unions.

“Now, there are no holy cows in terms of our engagements. We will bring a package that will have been formed by a thorough process of consultation,” said Mbalula.

“That requires a buy-in from all stakeholders, including road users.

“We have dealt with this in an environment that has been highly politicised, so it’s difficult because proposals put forward tend to be in the interests of a political party to win votes.”

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