EFF threatens to take to the streets after Mbalula tells public to pay e-tolls

EFF threatens to take to the streets after Mbalula tells public to pay e-tolls

The sun sets over an e-toll gantry on the N1 highway near Randburg, 16 September 2014. Picture: Michel Bega

The party says the people of Gauteng already pay for water, electricity and ever increasing petrol prices.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng say they reject Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s call for people to pay e-tolls.

At a briefing on the state of aviation on Thursday after the grounding of planes earlier this week, Mbalula urged motorists to pay, saying this was needed to maintain road infrastructure.

The EFF, however, isn’t having it, and says “the residents of Gauteng must be ready and prepared to take to the streets if needs be”.

“We call on continued, resolute, and united public action of boycott against e-tolls,” a statement from the party said.

“We reiterate that e-tolls were never in the first place supposed to be imposed on the people of Gauteng.

“The ANC government promised Gauteng people on several occasions like during the 2016 local government elections, that they will do away with e-tolls. Yet, it’s national ministers [that] always take [the] platform to contradict this, stating that paying e-tolls is government policy.

“Even the Gauteng premier, Makhura, wasted millions in rands on useless panels and fake public consultations that he staged since 2014, despite the EFF’s constant objection to such wastage. The consultations were supposed to happen long before October 2007, when the e-tolls project kicked off.

READ MORE: Mbalula steps up talks on scrapping e-tolls

“Makhura also made several empty grandstanding promises via state of the province addresses that he will scrap the system only to turn around and distance himself from his own commitments, after realising he has no jurisdiction on the matter.

“The e-tolls must be boycotted until government finds a solution other than making ordinary citizens pay. The people already pay for water, electricity and ever-increasing petrol prices. Why must government impose on them another tariff that came out of the greed and corrupt interests of politicians: e-tolls must fall,” the statement concludes.

At Thursday’s briefing, Mbalula said corrupt officials and insufficient communication had played a role in people refusing to pay for e-tolls.

He encouraged motorists to embrace the unpopular toll system.

“I thought I should use this opportunity to encourage users to support these entities,” he said.

Mbalula has previously said government was considering scrapping the system.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.)

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