Elza van Lingen, MP
DA Leader in the NCOP
Transport Minister, Ben Martin’s confidence that the e-tolling bill – the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill – will be passed through the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) without a fight is presumptuous.
The DA in the NCOP is gearing up for the fight against this unnecessary Bill and will do as much as possible to ensure that it does not become law. Minister Martins told journalists at a Media Briefing yesterday that: “E-tolling is on track. It has been to Parliament and now it’s waiting approval by the National Council of Provinces to be implemented. I suggest you get your e-tags now so you can get a discount.”
The Bill is problematic in that it would create the world’s most expensive toll collection system, be an additional tax, and allow for construction of e-tolls anywhere in the country without the approval of Parliament, municipalities and Provinces. We simply cannot approve legislation that will give SANRAL and the Department of Transport carte blanche to do as they please without hearing the views of the public first.
My colleague, Herman Groenewald who sits on the NCOP Portfolio on Public Service Committee, will write to the Chairperson of that committee, Mtikeni Sibande, and call for, as was the case with the Secrecy Bill, additional Public Hearings on the Bill. The NCOP needs to listen to concerns of South Africans who are opposed to e-tolling before the Bill is approved.
The NCOP is not a rubber-stamp for National Assembly and Cabinet decisions. It is a separate house that must consider all legislation on its merits.