By Kaya 959 News
The Department of Transport has revealed that an announcement on e-tolls will be finalised in the next two weeks.
Minister Fikile Mbalula said his department is in the tail-end of their process.
“The decision is on the table. We expect that, in the next two weeks, we should be back at Cabinet before tabling our budget vote speeches. We should have gone to you (the National Council of Provinces) and the public to announce the Cabinet decision on e-tolls,” Mbalula says.
“We thought by now, we would have finalised it. Unfortunately, it is a big decision. We are not working alone,” the Minister said.
Nel says for the longest time, the DA has said the e-tolls are an unfair burden on residents in Gauteng.
He said it is important now more than ever that a decision is finally made on e-tolls as the cost of basic food and petrol has gone up over the last year, putting further pressure on residents who have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“An announcement on the future of e-tolls was supposed to have been made last month, but according to the Minister of Transport, this could not happen because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Nel said he sincerely hopes that Mbalula sticks to his promise this time as residents have been forced to pay for something that they did not agree to in the first place.
Calls to abandon the system
He says SANRAL has battled to enforce payments and at least 40% of drivers were paying for e-tolls about six years ago.
OUTA CEO, Wayne Duvenage, says they could not understand why Parliament is debating the future of the defunct system.
“The e-toll matter has certainly not received the attention it deserves given the ongoing operating costs to manage the defunct scheme,” he said.
He says this is financed by a handful of businesses and citizens who make up the last approximately 15% of motorists who remain reluctantly compliant.
Many deadlines missed
“Government’s indecisiveness in making the obvious decision between either pulling the plug on the failed scheme or summonsing millions of motorists to pay their bills, can only be attributed to poor leadership and the State’s inability to make a relatively simple decision.”
Duvenage saysthat the fact that several deadlines set by the department have been missed, caused the public to lose trust in what ought to be an important arm of the State which needs the support of the public.
Duvenage said that the fact that several deadlines set by the Department of Transport have been missed, have caused the public to lose trust in what ought to be an important arm of the state which needs the support of the public.