The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) says that transport minister Dipuo Peters must stop the rhetoric and start accepting the reality that road users do not want e-tolls.
The group was responding to comments made by Peters in Kimberly, where she said that if people say no to e-tolls, they might as well stop paying insurance companies as well.
Outa brushed off the comment as an idle threat, saying that it, and society as a whole, are fully aware that infrastructure is supposed to be financed by citizens.
“However, the people require their government to act responsibly when deciding how best to extricate these funds from it citizens, and to conduct themselves in an inclusive and participatory manner – as opposed to being extractive and dismissive of the public’s views,” the group said in a statement.
Outa said that government acts on behalf of citizens, and when poor decisions have been made, it needs to acknowledge the errors and work with stakeholders to find a solution.
“Throughout the e-toll saga, the behavior expressed by government and its agency Sanral, has raised serious concerns about their ability to conduct the necessary research and evaluate the judgment of their advisors on projects of this nature,” Outa said.
“Clearly the e-toll decisions never took the people’s input or best interest into account.”
According to Outa, e-toll compliance levels are sitting well below 40%, with more tagged motorists indicating they would “de-tag” and halt payments to “a seemingly defunct system”.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura set up a 15-member advisory panel in July to assess the socioeconomic effects of the controversial system.
The panel has heard from a number of organisations including Outa and other stakeholders – including the public – and is due to publish a report on its finding in November.
Peters has previously indicated that e-tolling system will not be scrapped, and that the panel’s findings will not impact the system as it does not have power over national government.