Editor's noteOpinion

Don’f fall for e-toll and secrecy bill politics

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has signed five new bills into law.

He put his mighty pen to the General Intelligence Laws Amendment, National Health Amendment Act, Dangerous Weapons Act, Prevention and

Combating of Torture of Persons, and National Environmental Management Laws Amendment. But there are two controversial and most important bills missing from this list. These are the South African Protection of State Information Bill and the Transport Law Enforcement and Related Matters Amendment Bill.

The Protection of State Information Bill aims to regulate the classification, protection and dissemination of state information, weighing state interests up against transparency and freedom of expression.

The Transport Law Enforcement and Related Matters Amendment Bill will pave way for government, through the SA National Roads Agency Limited
(Sanral), to implement e-tolling in Gauteng.

Both were rejected outright by the public, but the ANC-led Parliament passed them.

Processes leading up to their formulation and passing were characterised by dishonesty. Government wanted them introduced at all costs.

In the latest twist, Austrian e-toll company Kapsch TrafficCom AG told its shareholders that its financial losses were because of the delays in the implementation of Gauteng e-tolls.

The City Press newspaper reported that the company projected that it would rake in R669 million a year when the user-pay system kicks in. This report contradicted a Sanral statement that tolling revenue would not go overseas.

Zuma didn’t give any explanation on the two bills, but rest assured the ANC and South African leader is not stupid. He knows that passing them now could seriously harm the ANC chances and credentials ahead of the 2014 general election.

It is also clear that an opposition politician whose pre-election campaign includes a promise to scrap e-tolling will be smiling all the way to the highest office currently occupied by Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

The Protection of State Information Bill, meanwhile, could be decided by the courts should the President sign it into law in its current form.

Zuma didn’t leave these bills out by mistake. It could have been a well calculated political manoeuvre from a government that seemingly cares very little about the views of the people on these two controversial issues.

Expect protests against these bills to continue. And the secrecy bill to become law, and Sanral to forge ahead with e-tolling, with or without public support. That’s the principle of the modern-day ANC.

South Africans must stand their ground and say no to the secrecy bill and e-tolling.

Related Articles

Back to top button