I did not say that: Premier

Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Sunday refuted a Citizen newspaper article quoting him as saying e-toll bills must be paid in adherence to the government’s decision.

“At NO point did the premier say “motorists should pay because government has an upper hand”,” said the premier’s spokeswoman Nino Zama in a statement.

“Premier Makhura has always maintained the view that people must continue to pay for e-tolls, as we find a lasting solution,” she said.

The Saturday Citizen quoted Makhura as saying at a meeting at the Gallagher Convention Centre on Friday: “We have to respect government’s decision [for] it has the upper hand.”

The newspaper also quoted him as saying: “If I was to advise anyone in Gauteng, I would say: ‘Please continue to pay’.”

Last year, Makhura established a review panel to assess the socio-economic impact of e-tolling following calls for it to be scrapped.

He announced the review during his state-of-the-province address in Thokoza, on the East Rand.

At the time he said: “While we shall not promise easy solutions and claim easy victories, we must make it clear that we cannot close our eyes to the cries of sectors of our population who are severely affected by the cost of travelling across the province.”

E-tolling was implemented on Gauteng highways in December 2013, following several court challenges to halt the project.

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I did not say that: Premier