File photo: Ihsaan Haffejee

Johannesburg - The decline in support for the ANC in Gauteng was due to e-tolls being forced on an unwilling public, despite the ruling party's claims to the contrary, Outa said on Monday.

“As much as the ANC executive tries to downplay the decline, it is massive and is largely attributed to the decision to force e-tolls on an unwilling and angry public who won't pay for something they were not adequately consulted on or that they didn't ask for,” Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance spokesman John Clarke said in a statement.

In Gauteng, the African National Congress got 53.59 percent of the vote in Wednesday's general elections, down from 64.4 percent in 2009.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Sunday claimed e-tolls had nothing to do with the party's loss of support in the province.

“It's a misplaced debate, an emotional debate. It doesn't talk to the working class because no province has the same infrastructure as Gauteng,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

“It is a non-issue of debate,” he said, referring to whether people paid their e-toll bills.

Clarke said Mantashe was not serving the ANC's interests by “playing along” with the SA National Roads Agency Limited's e-tolls project.

“When the new Gauteng provincial legislature convenes, the ANC will have seven less MPLs than before, with their 40 MPLs facing a combined total of 33 opposition members from both the left and the right, all of whom were opposed to e-tolls.”