More revealing was the Premier’s statement “We can’t build roads and only later inform citizens that they must pay,” which confirms our long-standing point that the Gauteng freeway tolling decision was taken without necessary consultation and engagement with society.
Although the Premier confirmed the Province is not in favour of the e-toll decision, OUTA disagrees with his view that a resolution is beyond reach and in the hands of National Government. A convincing start would be to halt his provincial fleet’s payment of e-tolls and to end Gauteng’s financial shortfall contribution of R123 million per year, set out for the next 22 years. The e-Toll freeways run throughout Gauteng Province and provincial leadership has every right to continue with the challenge against this scheme.
The fact is the Gauteng Provincial leadership should have intervened on this matter back in 2007 when they had the opportunity to do so. The City of Cape Town’s action to halt the Winelands tolling project provides a fine example of how local government is able to take a stand and halt the abusive conduct of a state-owned entity.
Of greater interest in the Premier’s speech was his confirmation that “there will be no e-tolls on our new roads.” This comment confirms OUTA’s position that the e-toll system has failed as an urban road funding mechanism.
“We are concerned that Premier Makhura did not react as he should have to society’s rejection of the scheme during the e-Toll Socio-economic advisory panel sessions in 2014,” says Ben Theron, OUTA’s Portfolio Director for Transport. “The outcome of that process was an opportunity lost by the Province to do more in placing national leadership and Sanral under pressure to halt the scheme at the time.”
OUTA remains committed to ending this unjust system and encourages the public to continue to support the battle against the abuse of power by State Owned Entities.