Gauteng residents must not be burdened with paying for e-tolls -Jacob Mamabolo
Pretoria - Gauteng residents must not be burned with with paying for e-tolls.
This was the view of Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo who has reiterated the provincial government’s long-standing opposition to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), implemented through a controversial e-tolling system.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mamabolo said he had in November written to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula registering the provincial government’s rejection of proposed Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) regulations as another method of enforcing e-tolls in Gauteng.
“We have made a very comprehensive submission to the president, the minister of finance and that of transport which we believe can resolve the e-tolls matter once and for all,” Mamabolo said, slamming what he called distortions in the public discourse on the issue.
“We have made a compelling case clearly stating that it is not correct for residents of our province to be burdened with paying for e-tolls.”
He said Gauteng was of the strong view that the freeway network being tolled served not just the province, but also the national economy, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as well as the international economy.
“It is therefore not fair to expect the people of our province to carry the burden,” Mamabolo said.
In 2019, while delivering his mid-term budget speech, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni stirred the hornet’s nest when he said the controversial e-toll system was not going to be abolished in the immediate future.
"Cabinet has considered several options to resolve the impasse over the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. Government has decided to retain the user pay principle. While there will be a further dispensation and value‐added services, compliance will also be strengthened," Mboweni said at the time.
"Not paying your tolls has already led to our roads deteriorating. We have been unable to maintain the network. I urge the nation to please pay your bills. We need to build a culture of payment, as government services can only be sustainable if all of us that can pay for services, do so."
Last year, Mbalula repeatedly stated to the media that the issue of e-tolls had to be resolved so that focus could be shifted to other road infrastructure projects. He said it was up to Ramaphosa’s cabinet to make a final decision on funding e-tolls following his transport department's industry-wide consultations.