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E-toll report exposes Sanral propaganda

JOBURG – Road Safety Campaign director Ali Gule welcomed some aspects of the e-toll review panel's report released by Gauteng Premier David Makhura on 15 January.

Makhura said the panel suggested that the e-toll system needed to be reviewed and further consultation with the public was needed, as the current system was a burden on the poor.

Gule said, “The report exposed the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s propaganda that the poor won’t be affected.” Gule added that the premier’s commitment to public consultation was a positive move. “We recommend him for that, but they must not pull the wool over our eyes. There must be thorough transparency in all the processes.”

Makhura said the panel evaluated the socio-economic impact of the e-tolling system on motorists and businesses, especially Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises.

“The e-tolls assessment panel made more than 50 recommendations, but one of its main findings was that the multi-billion rand project in its current form is unaffordable and inequitable,” he said. The panel found that low and middle income households were carrying the burden of e-tolls. The funding of future transport infrastructure should take into account the economic impact on poor households and the growing middle class, especially those who travel longer distances to work.

“Public transport issues of environmental sustainability are also dealt with in amongst the many recommendations, as well as issues of spatial integration,” he added.

Makhura said the panel recommended that the integration of the Gauteng transport system required a national, provincial and local government network of co-operation among all stakeholders. “Most people and organisations in Gauteng accept the fact that the Gauteng Integrated Transport Master Plan provides the basic transport necessities for economic productivity.”

The premier advised motorists to continue to pay their e-toll bills until a decision was made in February. “Gantries will never be white elephants, irrespective of final decisions on e-tolls. They [gantries] can never be a wasted investment,” he concluded.

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