Gauteng Premier’s e-toll “review” must bear fruit

John Moodey MPL

Caucus Leader and Gauteng Provincial Leader

Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s promise to convene a panel to review the impact of e- tolls on the province must not become yet another talk shop with government merely going through the motions of after the fact consultation and then imposing the same illogical, expensive and unpopular ‘solution’ on Gauteng motorists.

The people of Gauteng have demonstrated their wholesale opposition to these tolls by planned boycotts and a refusal to pay. Even the Catholic Church has come out in support of this civil action and as a member of the Church, I will heed such call.

That does not make me a criminal or a lawless citizen. As my colleague Dr Niel Cambell MPL, DA’ Shadow MEC for Transport often says, “threats from government and Sanral have not, nor will they ever, bear fruit”.

If Makhura is serious about resolving the problem of e-tolls, there is really only one solution and that is to re-introduce the concept of a ring fenced national fuel levy, which funds all other major road improvements across the country.

Those who state that they are against a national fuel levy must bear in mind that Gauteng taxes support every other province in the country. They must realize that an effective national road network is imperative to support and grow our economy which is almost stagnant presently. It must be understood that the paltry budget given to Sanral leaves that Agency with little choice to fund road upgrades, other than tolls.

The ring fenced fuel levy is the most cost effective way of solving an ongoing problem and the Premier’s panel must be inclusive, open to reason and most importantly it must bear fruit. It’s mandate should include means of addressing the unnecessary and questionable collection costs.

The proposed e-toll review must not become Makhura’s first empty promise, a legacy left by his predecessor, the Queen of Empty Promises, Nomvula Mokonyane.