By John Moodey MPL, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader:
Today Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to announce more ways to pay for e-tolls, instead of scrapping them altogether – despite the fact that less and less road users are willing to pay for this unfair and unjust system.
According to the National Department of Transport, since January there has been a dramatic drop in the number of people registering for e-tolls, as well as a steady decline in revenue collected.
This disproves the assertion by Premier Makhura and the e-toll review panel that people are not fundamentally opposed to paying tolls on Gauteng’s highways.
People are feeling the financial crunch of increases in municipal rates, electricity, petrol and income tax, and are simply not willing or able to pay e-tolls.
Instead of scrapping e-tolls altogether, the ANC’s response is to introduce stealth methods hidden in licensing and other fees to force people to pay.
The fact is that the e-tolls system does not have the ability to cope and deal with debt collection, and the introduction of the hybrid model will further complicate an unsustainable system.
So while the economies of Gauteng and the country are reeling from the effects, and unemployment spirals out of control, Deputy President Ramaphosa and Premier Makhura are standing at a crossroad today.
They could act in the interests of the poor and working class by scrapping e-tolls altogether, or open a Pandora’s Box of civil disobedience and non-compliance on a scale never seen before.
The choice is theirs, and the consequences will be felt at the polls in 2016.