Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni
Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

Cabinet denies plans are underway to scrap e-tolls

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published May 28, 2021

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THE Cabinet has distanced itself from claims by Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo that e-tolls will be done away with.

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said there had been no Cabinet decision on this.

She said Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has been meeting with a number of stakeholders on how best to deal with the matter.

During the budget vote of Mbalula’s department in the National Council of Provinces yesterday, opposition parties called for the government to scrap the e-tolls.

DA MP Tim Brauteseth said the e-tolls were costing the government R1 billion a year to maintain.

He said while Mamabolo had announced the scrapping of the e-tolls, the national department of transport has denied this.

EFF MP Brenda Tirhani Mathevhula said the government must stop moving around in circles and scrap e-tolls.

She said the message has been made clear by the people of Gauteng that they do not want e-tolls.

She said there was no need for the government to wait while the people have clearly stated their desire to do away with e-tolls.

Ntshavheni said the Cabinet has not taken a decision to scrap e-tolls.

“The Minister of Transport continues to engage with all the parties that are relevant, the National Treasury, the Gauteng government, and also continues to update the Cabinet on the progress with such engagements and the various proposals that the Cabinet is considering, and once considered, for the decision to be made,” said Ntshavheni.

“On the e-tolls, when the Cabinet is ready, and when all matters have been considered, the Cabinet will take a decision and an announcement will be made,” she said.

Mamabolo had earlier said there was a decision to get rid of e-tolls.

A statement yesterday by the Transport Department said it had noted the SAfm interview between Stephen Grootes and Mamabolo.

“We are of the view that the MEC has made it quite clear that what he (Mamabolo) articulated during the interview, is a provincial position of Gauteng, which is not a new matter at all. Our understanding is that this is the position which Gauteng is lobbying the national government to adopt on e-tolls, and we respect that.”

Cosatu and other partners of the ANC have rejected e-tolls, and this has been one of the contentious issues in the past few years.

Ntshavheni said the Gauteng provincial government has been lobbying national government to get rid of e-tolls.

Political parties have also rejected the e-tolls, saying the people were already stretched to the limit.

Ntshavheni also said President Cyril Ramaphosa would soon be addressing the nation after an increase in Covid-19 cases.

There has been a spike in infections and deaths in the past few weeks.

She said at the moment the Cabinet was busy consulting with various stakeholders, and an announcement would be made when Ramaphosa addresses the nation.

Ntshavheni said the Cabinet would not be drawn to comment on whether Health Minister Zweli Mkhize should step aside or not after allegations linking him to a multi-million-rand tender scandal in his department emerged this week.

Mkhize said this week he did not benefit from the tender and that the Special Investigating Unit was probing the matter.

Ntshavheni said the SIU and other law enforcement agencies should be allowed to do their work.

“The SIU is still investigating the Digital Vibes tender case and they will issue a report. It’s not the place of the Cabinet to discuss matters that are under investigation by law enforcement agencies,” said Ntshavheni.

“We would like to give them space to do their work and allow them to conclude their investigations and take appropriate decisions in terms of prosecution or not.”

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