File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu / Independent Media.

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has tasked Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula to work with Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on finding a solution to the Gauteng e-toll impasse.

The three will be expected to table proposals to Cabinet by the end of August 2019.

This comes in the wake of a ‘Twitter war’ between Makhura and Mboweni that erupted on Thursday night after the latter insisted that users must pay for e-tolls. This came after Makhura’s State of the Province report last week, where the Premier said he didn’t envision e-tolls as part of the province's future.

However, Ramaphosa sternly rebuked the pair for their public exchanges, labelling them as “unfortunate and deeply regrettable” as well as “unbecoming of their high offices”. 

“The public interest is best served through collaboration, not conflict, and the appropriate platform for leaders to express and reconcile differing views is Cabinet and other coordination forums,” said the media statement, issued by the President’s spokesperson.

The statement also acknowledged that the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan (GFIP) “presents challenges in its current form” and stated that the President expects the upcoming government consultations to produce "workable outcomes".

While this might seem like a sign that that e-tolls could be on their way out, the Democractic Alliance earlier stated that last week’s Twitter war between Mboweni and Makhura confirmed that under the ANC, e-tolls are here to stay.

"Since the gantries were switched on in December 2013, the ANC has consistently spoken with a forked tongue on the matter,” DA Gauteng MPL Solly Msimanga said on Saturday.

“When it is convenient, they claim that the system will be scrapped. But when the truth comes out, it is clear that they care not for the plight of Gauteng’s residents."

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