File photo: Ian Landsberg.

Single mothers are the most vulnerable to the e-toll system.

They have to use their meagre salaries to feed their families and are forced to pay tolls to arrive at work on time and avoid being unemployed.

These allegations formed part of the submission of IFP Women‘s Brigade member Nonhlanhla Makhubo to a panel set up by Gauteng Premier David Makhura on the socio-economic impact of e-tolls on Gauteng residents.

Makhubo was part of the Gauteng IFP delegation led by party leader Bonginkosi Dhlamini at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on Friday. Makhubo told the panel led by Professor Muxe Nkondo that not all single mothers could be classified as “middle class”.

She said their parental circumstances and the lack of reliable public transport was the driving force for them to buy cars. Makhubo said most of these women lived outside the “economic active areas” of Gauteng and were forced to travel long distances to their places of work.

Makhubo addressed the panel in her mother tongue - in her words - to give a clear explanation of the “plight of single mothers”.

On Friday, the IFP became the third opposition party in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to add its voice to the rejection of e-tolls since their introduction in December last year.

“Sanral’s electronic tolling process in Gauteng freeways is viewed by the IFP in Gauteng as irrational, unfeasible and a mockery of the poor residents of Gauteng.

“The system was planned without the best interests of the people at heart,” Dhlamini said.

The IFP leadership told the panel that the introduction of e-tolls in the province had increased the cost of doing business in Gauteng.

“This hypothesis has been validated by the World Bank-sponsored report (which says) doing business in South Africa is already high compared to in other developing nations.

“Globally, South Africa stands at 64 of 189 economies on the ease of starting a business – a trend that will do little to allow the envisaged township to flourish.”

Like other opposition parties, the IFP also lamented the lack of consultation before the implementation of e-tolls. They accused Sanral of misleading Gauteng residents about their actual purpose.

“We were not told that we were going to pay for these tolls. Initially, we were told that the Gauteng freeways’ improvement were going to be part of the 2010 Fifa World Cup soccer legacy.

“In the e-toll model the taxi transport is exempted from paying to use Gauteng freeways, but food and freight vehicles that service the townships and other areas have not been exempted.

“This decision is incorrect, because e-tolling will obviously push up food prices and affect mostly black residents of Gauteng residing in townships.”

- Saturday Star