OUTA has expressed concern at Minister Dipuo Peters comments on Monday, that the e-toll decision wont be scrapped. This essentially means that following Premier Makhura’s reference to his panel initiative as having received ‘the support of the ANC and the Government’ at his media briefing on 10 July 2014, his efforts must now be considered as a waste of time.
“Why on earth would the ANC give their blessing to the Gauteng Premier’s initiative, if indeed the Minister appears to be intent on rejecting the pertinent and valuable information expected to come from this exercise, before it has been examined?” questions Wayne Duvenage, the OUTA Chairperson.
Statements like this are indicative of a government that is out of touch with its people and the reality of the situation at hand. “Quite frankly, the decision related to the continuation and success of e-tolls is one that has more to do with what the people say about this unjust policy, and less about what the authorities think that matters. It is doomed to fail,” adds Duvenage.
While the Gauteng Premier may lack the political authority to scrap e-tolls, it is the Gauteng provincial economy that will determine its viability. “If the economics of e-tolling are not right, the mustering of all the executive powers will be a futile exercise. The ruling party in Cabinet and the National Assembly would have more chance of successfully repealing the law of gravity than to force e-tolling to work, because the economics of it simply makes no sense and the majority of the people are having nothing to do with it,” says John Clarke, OUTA’s joint spokesperson. “Just because the gantry lights are on, doesn’t mean the system is working. It needs to be effective in raising the necessary funds to be successful, and that horse has long bolted.”
Despite the Ministers comments, OUTA is pleased at the volume and substance of the many organisations and individuals who have turned up with strong moral, ethical and normative submissions to the Gauteng advisory panel. It is our opinion that at the end of the day, the executive authorities will have one option open to them – scrap the irrational and grossly inefficient e-toll scheme and go back to the drawing board.