Concerns remain about e-tolls in Gauteng
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Johannesburg – The issue of e-tolls still lingers in the minds of many as the government has yet to finalise its decision on the contentious issue.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has recently repeatedly stated to the media that the issue of e-tolls had to be resolved so that focus can be shifted on other road infrastructure projects. He also indicated that it was up to the Cabinet to make a final decision on funding e-tolls following his department's industry-wide consultations.
Even without clarity, the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) has repeatedly stated that e-tolls were here to stay.
This statement has done little to appease the anger from Gauteng's political parties.
The ANC in Gauteng said it remained against the system even though debates about on it have been very divided within government.
Bones Modise, spokesperson for the ANC in Gauteng, said the party in the province was not interested in any discussion that did not talk to the scrapping of the e-tolls system.
"We have not changed from our stance so anything that does not speak to the fact that e-tolls have been scrapped will not be supported by the ANC of Gauteng. E-tolls are a burden on their own and they should be scrapped," Modise insisted.
The EFF placed the blame for a lack of decision-making on the ANC.
EFF chairperson in Gauteng Itani Mukwevho said residents should not place their hopes in the ANC for a resolution to the saga.
"The ANC is the one that raised and pushed for the implementation of e-tolls. So there is nothing that the government will do about the e-tolls because they are the ones making money. We do not need that thing in Gauteng," Mukwevho said.
DA MPL Fred Nel shared similar concerns but also highlighted a more urgent need for the e-tolls matter to be resolved as the amended regulations governing the administrative adjudication of road traffic offences (Aarto) would come into effect next year.
Mbalula gazetted the drafted regulations which could see motorists facing hefty fines for ignoring e-toll payment notices.
"The urgency of the finality has become more urgent because of the potential implementation of the Aarto regulations after December. This would see motorists being fined for ignoring an e-toll fine.
’’This could have a huge barring on their ability to renew a licence; we need finality on the matter before the Aarto regulations come into effect.
’’Aarto should not be used to force people to pay e-tolls. The two matters should be dealt with separately," Nel said.