The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng says it “is deeply concerned that the ANC government is mum about the future of e-tolls despite numerous promises that it will eradicate them”.
The party says the ANC government “can no longer be trusted in handling the e-toll matter as they seem to be unable to come to an agreement amongst themselves”.
“Various leaders in the ANC and in government have made conflicting statements and promises yet nothing has materialised.
“This indecisiveness has resulted in the extension of the e-toll contract, which expired at the start of December last year, for another three months.
“This government has missed yet another opportunity to scrap e-tolls because it is unable to come up with a tangible solution.
“Gauteng residents cannot be fooled by these delay tactics that have a huge impact on their pockets.”
The party says it has proposed that a portion of the fuel levy be used to pay for e-tolls “but instead it is now being used to bail out failing state-owned enterprises”.
It was reported in December last year that cabinet had not finalised a decision on e-tolls, despite statements by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula during the launch of the festive season safety campaign that a decision would be reached before Christmas.
Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu briefed the media on the outcomes of the Tshedimosetso House Cabinet meeting which was held on 13 December. He said Cabinet was still deliberating on the e-toll issue and a decision would be made in 2020.
“While the matter was discussed, there was no finality reached by Cabinet.”
Since the medium-term budget policy statement, Mbalula has been fielding a plethora of questions regarding the e-toll system, especially after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told parliament that not paying e-tolls was not an option.
In an effort to clarify any confusion, Mbalula said Cabinet had not taken a decision on e-tolls and was still deliberating on the matter.
E-tolls were set up to fund the upgrading of Gauteng’s freeways, but has since experienced a financial decline as most drivers were not paying their bills which resulted in the system accumulating debt.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Gopolang Moloko)