Makhura vows to continue rejecting e-toll system
Johannesburg- Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the provincial administration would continue rejecting the e-tolls system despite calls by the national government for motorists to pay.
Makhura was speaking at the provincial legislature on Tuesday, during a question and answer session, which coincided with the tabling of the provincial mid-term budget.
In recent years, the ANC-led administration has been caught between a rock and a hard place, as the national government called on Gauteng motorists to foot the piling e-tolls bills while the alliance in the province joined residents and civil society organisations in rejecting the request.
Last year, the ANC in the province resolved that e-tolls be scrapped.
Makhura said while Finance Minister Tito Mboweni had reiterated that e-toll bills need to be paid while a solution is being explored, the provincial administration still rejected them.
“We still insist that e-tolls have no future in Gauteng. We did not say it because it was election time. We still insist and we say it as an ANC-led government because that is the view of the ANC in Gauteng. This position has not changed and it will not change.” He added that e-tolls had a negative impact on the province, as they increased the cost of living and that of doing business.
He also poured cold water on Mboweni’s insistence that e-tolls would stay and that they would have to be paid by Gauteng residents.
“From time to time ministers say things and so on that deviate and do that, but we don't work like that."
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe recently called on citizens to learn to pay the government for services that were being rendered to them, including e-tolls.
Makhura said his administration had no problem with the user-pay principle, but e-tolls were wrongly added on an already over-tolled province. “We have made a well-substantiated argument on alternative ways to pay for the debt, not to carry on paying for the e-tolls. Among other things we have put forward the fuel levy option. We don't want to be talking about e-tolls in 2020.”
Meanwhile, finance MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko announced that Gauteng's expenditure had been adjusted upwards by R444 million, increasing the provincial budget for 2019/20 to R133 billion.
The education department received the biggest equitable share of the budget rolled over from the 2018/19 financial year, amounting to R46.2m, of which R25.5m is earmarked for school furniture. Health in the meantime has received the biggest share, at R320m while roads and transport received R91.4m for the maintenance of provincial roads.