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Johannesburg - There would be no need for e-tolls if Gauteng's financial resources to upgrade and maintain roads were properly managed, the Black Management Forum in the province said on Friday.
“If you use the resources adequately you are able to upgrade those roads without having an increased burden on the road users and taxpayers,” chairman Modise Moiloanyane said in Johannesburg.
“The e-toll project will put further strain on consumers, because due to its multiplying effect it will contribute to the cost of living. Some of the multiplying factors will have an effect on the economy at large.”
Moiloanyane was speaking to reporters at the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance's (Outa) announcement that it would not appeal the Supreme Court of Appeal's dismissal, on October 9, of its challenge to e-tolls.
Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said the organisation's board met on Monday to decide the way forward. After input from various parties they realised they did not have the money to continue the legal battle and should instead find other ways of fighting e-tolls.
“We are exhausted from a funding point of view. We still owe our lawyers R1.8 million and it will cost R1.5m to continue. We realised that we are out of money.”
Moiloanyane said the provision of adequate public transport should have been a prerequisite for the implementation of the e-tolls so that consumers had an option of whether to use the roads.
A broader economic analysis should have been done to determine the impact e-tolls would have on road users because the economy was not performing well.
SA Catholic Bishops Conference justice and peace department co-ordinator Father Mike Deeb said it was not the end of the road and the struggle continued.
“We believe that the government is steaming ahead with something that is not capable of succeeding.”
Deeb said there was a “very bad smell” about the e-toll system and that the government had done nothing to get rid of the smell, so there had to be other factors involved.
Democratic Alliance Gauteng spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the fight was not over and the party was receiving legal advice on the next step to challenge e-tolling.
“If the DA does bring a legal challenge before the election it is likely to be on different grounds to the Outa case. However, the DA’s ability to fight tolls will primarily be as a party of government in Gauteng,” he said in a statement.
“That is why the surest way to defeat tolling is for South Africans to voice their opposition at the ballot box next year. It has become very clear over the past few weeks that government has not revealed the true cost of e-tolling to the public.”
Duvenage urged motorists not to buy e-tags, and said it was not illegal not to have an e-tag.