The ANC in Gauteng is divided over the road-tolling system.
The ANC in Gauteng is divided over the road-tolling system.

Dissent in the ANC over toll roads

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Dec 1, 2011

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The ANC in Gauteng is divided over the road-tolling system.

Cracks emerged on Wednesday when ANC Gauteng secretary David Makhura told the media that the opposition of the party’s provincial headquarters, Sisulu House, to the tolling system as proposed had not changed.

Makhura reiterated comments he made in April in which he said the proposed tolling system would have disastrous consequences for Gauteng.

“We are going to negotiate a better deal for the people of Gauteng,” he said.

Makhura said he was aware of what transpired in the legislature on Tuesday including the objections by 20 000 petitioners, but said the Gauteng ANC provincial executive committee would meet next weekend to make a final decision on the tolling system.

He did not rule out the possibility that they might try to persuade the cabinet to consider reducing the tariffs.

The ANC’s latest reaction is likely to create confusion after Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi made it clear the Gauteng tolling system was a cabinet-approved “done deal” and would be implemented in February.

Vadi and other MPLs claimed on Tuesday that their provincial office had endorsed their decision.

On Wednesday’s developments confirmed the Gauteng opposition parties’ views that the ANC in Gauteng was divided on the issue.

During the debate on Tuesday, none of the ANC members stood up to say whether they had bought e-tags when they were asked to do so.

Despite the ANC’s apparent split on the tolling issue, Makhura expressed happiness with its leadership in the provincial government under Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

Last year, during the same period, Makhura and his team forced Mokonyane to reshuffle her cabinet. Vadi was recalled from Parliament and appointed transport MEC.

Lebogang Maile, Humphrey Mmemezi and Ntombi Mekgwe were appointed the MECs for Sports, Arts, Recreation and Culture; Local Government and Housing; and Health and Social Development respectively.

Makhura called the media briefing to give details of the ANC’s state of preparedness relating to the party’s centenary celebrations starting in Boksburg on Saturday and a carnival in Joburg on Sunday.

The ANC will have a gala dinner at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg to honour its Struggle veterans.

Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile and ANC national chairman Baleka Mbete will address the dinner. They will also address the ANC carnival at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Joburg.

“The carnival will bring together South Africans of diverse backgrounds, reflecting the unifying and inclusive character of the struggle for freedom and democracy in our country.

“The launch marks the beginning of a year-long celebration that will focus on getting many South Africans to take part in observing and commemorating events and individuals who have made a tremendous contribution to the history of the country,” Makhura said.

The ANC also planned to identify the graves of its former leaders – black and white – to give them a makeover. Makhura referred to ANC veterans who were usually not mentioned in the party’s historical archives.

“Government funds will not be used to do the renovations of those graves,” he added. - The Star

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