e-Tolls Media Release

Zuma’s Brazen Behaviour Sparks Call for Borader CIvil Action

OUTA denounces president Zuma’s politically-driven removal of the astute Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, which will come at the expense of the prosperity of South Africa’s people.

We cannot fail to notice the similarities between Minister Nene’s removal and the “redeployment” of the Minister of Transport, S’bu Ndebele, and his deputy Minister Jeremy Cronin in June 2012.

Throughout 2011 and 2012, Minister’s Ndebele and Cronin questioned the urban tolling matter and both were doubtful of SANRAL’s research and rationality of the e-toll scheme. Following OUTA’s successful interdict of the e-toll launch in April 2012, the CEO of SANRAL, Mr Nazir Alli resigned. His departure however was brief and shortly after his reinstatement at the end of May 2012, Minister Ndebele and Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin were inexplicably redeployed by President Zuma.

In OUTA’s opinion, this week’s redeployment of Minister Nene is yet another slap in the public’s face by Zuma, who has ousted another obstacle to his government’s runaway spending, growing debt and questionable decisions. Nhlanhla Nene’s rationale and probing approach is what tax-payers expect of their Finance Minister. Clearly Jacob Zuma disagrees and the consequences of his brazen decision to remove Nene will now have a dire impact on the South African economy and its people.

The winds of discontent among South African public and more specifically, the tax-paying citizens, are strong enough to fan a fiery backlash that the ruling party will struggle to contain. We have seen this with the irrational e-toll scheme, which gave rise to an extremely effective revolt by 91% of the Gauteng freeway users who have given the e-toll scheme the finger. Today, the only people keeping e-tolls alive are a handful of corporate and logistic organisations, and many of these are de-tagging and contacting OUTA to seek advice and protection within the e-Toll Defense Umbrella.

“The level of effective civil resistance against e-tolls has been staggering, and recently we have received numerous calls for OUTA to spearhead a similar public resistance campaign into other areas of irrational governance,” says Wayne Duvenage, the Chairman of the Opposition to Tolling Alliance – OUTA. “We are obviously taking note of the situation and cautiously assessing all options under the circumstances. A tax revolt is a worrying situation for any nation to find itself in, however, a careful and collaborative approach with organized business and civil society does have the potential to elicit impactful change.”

South Africa’s credit situation is already dreadfully close to junk, and this decision by Jacob Zuma could very well be the shove that sends us over the brink. Unlike Greece, our country enters the possibility of an economic meltdown, not because of the actions of the South African people, nor because of any irresponsible conduct by our financial institutions, but because of a relentless political abuse of power and the systemic plundering and squandering of taxpayer money.

This country and it’s people can no longer afford to tolerate a situation where blatant abuse of power and politically-connected enrichment continues without consequence. It is for this reason that civil society organisations such as OUTA and others have the potential to hold our governing authorities to account. Our effectiveness however, is directly proportionate to the public’s participation and financial support to ensure we have the talent, facilities, and litigation provisions to conduct the work required. This is growing daily thanks to OUTA’s increasing membership base. (click to become a member)

“Certain spheres and issues can only be influenced by collective action and without the power of an effective civil society, all that remains is politics, and politics has failed us today,” said Duvenage.

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