In evaluating the socio-economic impact of e-tolls, the review panel has found that the system is unsustainable, that there is widespread opposition to it, that the poor and working class are bearing the brunt of the financial burden, and that alternative methods of funding should be sought.
Last week the Premier promised further consultations with all stakeholders, yet he still insists that motorists continue to pay e-tolls.
By doing so, the premier unnecessarily dumps the people of Gauteng into further drawn-out review processes, which will inevitably lead to the same conclusion that e-tolls are unjust, and should be scrapped.
In its recommendations, the panel proposed a so-called hybrid system where funding sourced from tolls and other means, such as increased licensing fees, tyre taxes, issuing prepaid e-tags upon vehicle license renewals, and ring-fencing the fuel levy.
In short, Makhura’s panel has recommended that e-tolling must remain when the vast majority of us oppose it.
Today we demand that the Premier places the decision on e-tolling in the hands of the people.
The DA today calls on Premier David Makhura to announce a referendum on e-tolls in his State of the Province address on 19 February.
He must ask the people of Gauteng to say “yes” or “no” on the scrapping of e-tolls.
He must then use this mandate from the people to negotiate the end of e-tolling with national government.
The people’s voice on e-tolling must prevail, not the panel’s voice.
The panel’s recommendation of a hybrid model overcomplicates an already uncertain funding regime – and still forces the public to pay through one “stealth tax” after another.
Shifting gantries around is not pro-poor in the least as Makhura claims. It is anti-poor. E-tolls drive up the costs of goods and services, severely slow down economic growth, and hamper job creation. All residents, including the poor, will still pay for e-tolls through higher prices, lost jobs and restricted movement.
The review panel process offered the people of Gauteng no relief whatsoever, and they will be forced to pay – despite the premier promising otherwise.
In his last State of the Province Address, the premier acknowledged the need to review e-tolls, and many communities and stakeholders were consulted.
The Premier now has to take the next step and call for a provincial referendum in terms of Section 127 of the Constitution asking only one question: Should e-tolls be scrapped?
A referendum is the most direct and effective way to tell government that e-tolls must go.
DA Gauteng Provincial Leader
082 960 3743
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540