Can the e-toll 'Goliaths' be slayed?

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Copy of IOL mot pic dec18 E-Toll Gantry Independent Newspapers File photo: Dumisani Dube.

Johannesburg - Opposition parties have had a mixed response to Premier David Makhura’s State of the Province address last week.

While most of these parties welcomed Makhura’s intention to intervene in the improvement of business in all Gauteng townships, it was his call to residents to continue paying for e-tolls that was condemned.

DA caucus leader John Moodey told Makhura in the legislature that he would continue using Gauteng’s freeways but would never pay for e-tolls.

 Moodey, however, told Makhura he welcomed a review of the e-tolls issue but was sceptical whether the national government and the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) would support him.

Moodey described the national government and Sanral as the “Goliaths that Makhura will have to slay”.

“I am not sure how you are going to get your colleagues at national (level) and Sanral to revisit this matter, but then, to steal the phrase from the mbongi (praise singer): ‘That is a Goliath that you have to slay’.

“However, you have stuck your head on this matter by promising to set up a review panel,” Moodey said.

ONLY ONE SOLUTION?

The DA insisted that a fuel levy was the only solution to the payment of e-tolls. The Freedom Front Plus also vowed not to pay for e-tolls.

“These e-tolls have been an ill-conceived project, with hugely inflated costs. Gauteng citizens are already hard-pressed to make ends meet. We are overtaxed and over-burdened.

“The exorbitant collection contract must be scrapped. R100 million going to an overseas beneficiary is not good for our economy.”

The gantries could be put to other use, such as for speed prosecutions and traffic surveillance, Moodey said.

 While a calm Makhura took down notes on his tab- let, MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi said the review panel was indeed on the cards.

“In due course, the premier will announce the composition of the panel; its terms of reference and the time frames within which it should report on the matter.

“The ANC wishes to assure one and all that this will be an open, transparent and credible process,” Vadi said.

He added that the hallmarks of the new administration under Makhura would be a “caring, service-oriented and responsive administration”.

“We are poised for an era of real and radical change,” Vadi enthused.

The Star

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