Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Caucus Leader
I have written today to Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane to call a referendum on the e-tolling of Gauteng highways.
I have done this as there is a looming impasse on this matter, with protests set to escalate that could destabilise this province.
People in Gauteng feel overwhelmingly that there was inadequate consultation when the decision was first taken to use an expensive and administratively complex tolling system.
Subsequent attempts at public participation have not alleviated this basic public grievance.
It is not a matter of whether the toll fees should be reduced for different categories of user, but whether there should be e-tolls at all.
A ring-fenced fuel levy is the obvious alternative, saving about R30 billion in collection costs over a 20 year period.
A referendum is the most meaningful form of public participation.
In terms of Section 127 (2) (g) of the Constitution, the Premier of a Province is responsible for “calling a referendum in the Province in accordance with national legislation.”
Although there is presently no applicable national legislation, this cannot nullify a constitutional provision.
I therefore urge the Premier to take the steps for a provincial referendum on the e-tolls which would empower her to do what is best for this province.