Jack Bloom MPL DA Gauteng Caucus Leader
The DA in Gauteng today launched a social media blitz calling for Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane to hold a provincial referendum on the e-tolling of Gauteng highways. One million cell phone text messages and emails will be sent to Gauteng residents to add their names to this call for a referendum. The E-Toll Referendum Now website is at http://mmkr.mobi/s/6cc8d I wrote to Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane last year on 10 December to call a referendum on the Gauteng e-tolls (letter attached below), but have not received a response. A referendum would be the most democratic way to decide this issue, and would put pressure on the national government to reconsider the tolls in favour of a much more cost-effective addition to the fuel levy. 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. Anti-toll protests are set to escalate and wide-spread non-compliance will likely make e-toll collection unviable. 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 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. A resounding rejection will strengthen her hand in pushing for the fuel levy to fund the highways rather than the expensive e-toll system.