Government must not turn South Africans into criminals – Msimanga

Members of the DA are seen outside the Sanral offices where they burned their E-toll bills along with Gauteng Premiere Candidate, Solly Msimanga, 4 April 2019, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Members of the DA are seen outside the Sanral offices where they burned their E-toll bills along with Gauteng Premiere Candidate, Solly Msimanga, 4 April 2019, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The premier candidate admits his own e-toll bill is R20,900 and pleads with government to stop the e-toll system.

The government must not turn South African tax-paying citizens into criminals for a system they imposed on them, said Democratic Alliance Gauteng Premier Solly Msimanga while feeding a bonfire with hundreds of e-toll invoices outside the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) offices in Centurion on Thursday.

Msimanga, alongside a few DA councillors and supporters, camped outside the Rooihuiskraal offices to send a message to the ANC government and Sanral that the e-toll system was not working and needed to be scrapped.

“They [ANC] are turning law-abiding citizens into criminals for their own mistakes. The road in the province has already been paid for. What we now need to know is where is this money going?”

He questioned why 80% of the money paid for tolls was not staying in the country. “Why is this money going to an Austrian company?”

DA Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga is seen burning his e-toll bills along with members of the DA outside the Sanral offices, April 4 2019, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

He gave President Cyril Ramaphosa and Gauteng Premier David Makhura a seven-day deadline for a debate on the e-toll system.

Should Makhura and Ramaphosa not respond to the seven-day deadline, Msimanga said it would be a clear indication that the ANC government were merely using electioneering tactics in campaigning and Sanral’s halt of persuing e-tolls from motorists would continue after the May elections.

He said the party would lodge an intergovernmental dispute to have e-tolls scrapped should they take office after elections.

“E-tolls are an unfair tax burden on an already overburdened tax base in Gauteng.”

The decision by Sanral not to proceed with summonses for e-toll debt was an indication that the system was not implementable and had failed.

Msimanga, who admitted that his e-toll bill was R20,900, pleaded with government to scrap the system before they turned regular motorists into criminals.

“Don’t turn us into criminals by forcing us to pay for an unjust system, David Makhura has shown that he is not serious about dealing with this matter.

“We are not going to continue to fund criminals, we are not going to continue to pay for the mistakes of criminals. This is what we think of their e-tolls,” he said as he threw another invoice in the flaming bonfire.

This comes after Sanral announced that it would temporarily scrap the collection of outstanding fees in the province. Sanral’s board passed an urgent resolution on the matter last month.

Sanral said the decision was based on an initiative led by President Cyril Ramaphosa. “It resolved that given the initiative led by President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the e-tolls payment impasse, Sanral will, with immediate effect, suspend the process of pursuing e-toll debt.”

The decision, however, will be closely monitored by the board and reviewed according to prevailing circumstances.

The Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), which collects e-tolls on behalf of Sanral, said they had issued between 2,000 and 4,000 summons to e-toll users who had ignored notices to settle their debts.

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