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President Jacob Zuma should withdraw his statement that South Africans should not think like Africans when it comes to e-tolls, DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said on Tuesday.
“The president was saying we must welcome e-tolls and pay up because new freeways have been built in Johannesburg. What the president doesn't realise is Africa is actually developing at a faster pace than he suggests,” he said.
“Many governments in African countries have adopted investor-friendly policies that create jobs. They are not burdening citizens with double-taxation though an expensive e-tolling system.”
Maimane was responding to a comment Zuma made while speaking at the Gauteng Manifesto Forum at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg on Monday.
Zuma said there was still an opportunity to discuss the e-tolling system around Johannesburg if there was a need for clarification, EyeWitness News reported.
According to the report, Zuma said the roads would be tolled and workers who could afford and maintain a car would be able to pay e-tolls, and the rest of the people could use public transport.
“We can’t think like Africans, in Africa, generally. We are in Johannesburg, this is Johannesburg. It's not some national road in Malawi.”
Maimane said Zuma should apologise and withdraw these “insulting remarks” and said people were not backward when they said they could not afford e-tolls.
He said Zuma's claim that working class people could afford e-tolls was false because people could not afford to pay an extra R400 a month to travel between Soweto and Midrand.
“Instead of insulting South Africans by saying we are backward when we oppose e-tolls, we should get rid of this backward and expensive tolling system,” he said.
The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) appeal against the implementation of e-tolls by the SA National Roads Agency Limited on October 9.
On Friday, Outa announced that it would not continue its appeal against the ruling because of a lack of money. - Sapa