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E-tolls impacted ANC’s support

JOBURG - Despite the ANC's effort to downplay its decline in Gauteng, the “massive” drop can be attributed to the implementation of e-tolling in the province.

This was according to the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) spokesperson John Clarke, who claimed that the decision to implement e-tolling had severely impacted the ruling party’s performance in this year’s provincial election.

Support for the ruling party in Gauteng dropped by more than 10 percent, the ANC’s worst provincial performance in this year’s election.

“As much as the ANC executive try to downplay the decline, it is massive and is largely attributed to the decision to force e-tolls on an unwilling and angry public,” said Clarke.

He said Outa noted with interest what it called “the dismissive comments” made by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe about the impact of e-tolls on the elections.

Mantashe had stated that the people of Gauteng “must stop whinging and pay up”.

However, Clarke said the public “won’t pay for something they were not adequately consulted on or that they didn’t ask for”.

“The eleven percentage point drop-off in overall electoral support for the ANC in Gauteng translates into a substantive decline in the traditional support base of the ANC since the 2009 elections,” he added.

“While the Nkandla issue has been a national one, e-tolls have been concentrated in the province of Gauteng, which is where the biggest haemorrhage of ANC support took place.”

According to Clarke, when the new Gauteng Provincial legislature convenes, the ANC will have seven less members than before, with their 40 MPL’s facing a combined total of 33 opposition members, all of whom are opposed to e-tolls.

Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage said the Gauteng-based ANC leadership would be wise to embark on a path of meaningful engagement with stakeholders on the e-toll issue as soon as possible, “before it gets any messier”.

“If they want the truth on how the Gauteng public feel about e-tolls, they should consider calling a referendum, or take a serious look at the myriad of polls and discussions on the matter,” said Duvenage.

He claimed that more than a million freeway users in Gauteng were defying the system and said the system had serious administrative problems.

“The e-toll decision was always flawed as a result of poor research, weak data and an arrogant attitude employed by Sanral to convince the authorities to proceed.”

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