In fact, it seems that the engagement took place without the buy-in from the national government.
During the forum, delegates split into four groups to engage on a number of issues, including integrated public transport, traffic demand management and the review panel’s recommendation of a hybrid funding model.
The DA attended the working group on the hybrid funding model, and was immediately struck by the complete absence of National Treasury, SANRAL and the National Department of Transport.
Their absence was also not explained by the chairperson, Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy.
If this stakeholder engagement is to enjoy any success, it would require an open and transparent engagement about the funding models national government has envisaged for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
The absence of the three major role players is a clear indication of government’s intention to keep e-tolls in place.
Participants in today’s engagement were clear: E-tolls must go, and government must seek alternative methods of funding.
The fact that the Gauteng ANC has backtracked on its October position opposing e-tolls to supporting a complicated model of funding, is testament to the fact that Premier Makhura has not listened to the people of Gauteng.
The fact is, the people have voiced their opposition to e-tolls. The people have spoken, and the Premier and the ANC have to set the wheels in motion to declare a provincial referendum on e-tolls.
Give the power to the people Mr Premier, let the people decide.
Dr Neil Campbell MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540