The DA says it will “ramp-up the fight against e-tolls” in Johannesburg, Ekhurhuleni and Tshwane if it is given the opportunity to govern after the Local Government Elections on 3 August.
At a briefing last week, the DA said the e-tolls project has made it more expensive for the poor to travel to work, has hurt small businesses, driven up food prices, and undermined job creation.
The DA representatives further said where ever the party governs, it has fought e-tolls “and won” and it wants to do the same in Gauteng.
The political party has said that an increase in the fuel levy would be a far better option than e-tolls, introduced on Gauteng roads in January 2014, but largely rejected by motorists who have refused to pay their bills claiming they weren’t properly consulted.
Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, again defended the implementation of e-tolls last week, claiming that the government did listen to citizens’ concerns about the system.
The minister said that the e-tolls project has already boosted the local economy and improved the lives of all road users in the Gauteng region.
“The DA’s attack on e-tolls is just electioneering – and also grossly misleading. Tolling has been national policy since 1996 and as such cannot be changed as the result of a municipal election, as the DA seems to claim,” Peter’s said in a statement.
“It is carefully and selectively applied in our country. Furthermore, due to its indiscriminate nature, a fuel levy can be an anti-poor form of tax.”
The DA however, said it will remain steadfast in exploring all legal remedies to ensure that that the tolling of our roads is done in a consultative manner, “and one that does not steal from Gauteng residents even further”.
“This project is likely to cost the tax-payer billions of rands that could have been used to actually maintain roads and create jobs, but has made it more expensive for the poor to travel to work, has hurt small businesses, driven up food prices, and undermined job creation. It has been an opportunity-killing move by an uncaring government,” said John Moodey, DA Gauteng provincial leader.
“Like many of the ANC’s “well-intentioned and ill-implemented” projects, e-tolling was rammed through without due public consultation by the ANC government.”
The DA has pledged to the people of Gauteng that should it govern in the provinve, wit will ramp-up the fight against e-tolls by:
- Blocking any further attempts by SANRAL to introduce new toll roads;
- Immediately explore legal options available to us, to declare an intergovernmental dispute, to stop this continued theft from our residents;
- Standing up to harassment of residents – under a DA government, Metro Police will not be allowed to harass motorists regarding E-toll payments; and
- Fighting for residents during consultation on existing tolling tariffs, to prevent increases that will kill opportunities in Gauteng.