File picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Johannesburg - The government must stop giving mixed messages and being “pig-headed” about the e-tolls in Gauteng, the Justice Project SA said on Sunday.

“If e-tolling is to be scrapped as a means of financing road upgrades in other phases of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and elsewhere, then why are SANRAL and government being so pig-headed about retaining it for phase one?” said JPSA chairman Howard Dembovsky in a statement.

He was responding to an article in the Sunday Independent in which Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi said that government was “taking a second look” at e-tolls.

Vadi told the newspaper that while there would be no review of phase one of the project, for other phases of the project, government was discussing “dissatisfaction with the funding model”.

The GFIP consists of different phases of work to upgrade and create a new freeway network.

The e-tolls were established during phase one as a means through which to fund the project.

Vadi told the Sunday Independent that: “E-tolls still remain a valid option but there are also discussions about a provincial fuel levy or a provincial tax or shadow tolling.”

Dembovsky said that Vadi's comments demonstrated the “monumentally irrational line of thinking being adopted.

“They are now acknowledging that they not only lied to the public then, but that they took no heed of any of the alternative funding models that were put to them,” said Dembovsky.