Church leaders are worried about a lack consultation on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), the SA Council of Churches (SACC) said on Monday.

They voiced this concern to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in a meeting in Johannesburg earlier in the day.

Motlanthe chairs the inter-ministerial committee on the GFIP.

In a joint statement afterwards, the church leaders acknowledged the need for improvement of Gauteng's highways.

“The SACC, however, was of the view that there was insufficient consultation on the project.”

Church leaders accepted the rationale of the GFIP to ease congestion on the roads, but was concerned at the state of public transport.

They urged government to take urgent steps to provide a reliable, efficient and quality public transport system.

In the meeting, it was agreed that further consultations would be held on a number of issues affecting the public, including e-tolling.

“The deputy president welcomed the discussions and undertook that once all consultations are concluded, Cabinet will consider all suggestions and decide on the way forward.”

Last Thursday, government and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) announced that Cabinet would consider proposed alternatives to e-tolling after a meeting between Motlanthe and Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage in Pretoria.

Outa wanted a fuel levy to fund freeway improvements, in view of Gauteng's economic importance, while government stressed the need for users to pay for upgraded roads and the importance of combating traffic congestion. - Sapa