Transport minister must give e-toll panel a chance

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters must give Gauteng’s e-tolls review panel a chance, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Gauteng said on Tuesday.

“We call… upon the minister of transport to afford an opportunity to the review panel to undertake its task and also for her to respect such a process,” provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile told reporters in Johannesburg.

“We further call upon the minister to desist from counter-revolutionary comments which does not help and or assist the process to resolve this immoral and draconian e-tolling system.”

In a radio interview on Monday, Peters reportedly said the Gauteng panel would not be making its submissions to her.

She announced there would be no review of the user-pays principle.

According to The Star, Peters said when Gauteng premier David Makhura spoke to her about the panel, he said it was an economic analysis of the whole Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), including other transport methods in the province such as the Gautrain.

“But, unfortunately for me, that panel seems to have taken a life of its own,” Peters was quoted as saying.

She said it seemed to be focused on things the premier had not told her about.

“The user-pays principle is not under review,” she said.

Cosatu in Gauteng has made submissions to a panel sitting in Johannesburg.

The hearings are intended to examine the economic and social impact of the GFIP and the electronic tolling system set up to fund it. The panel is expected to present its findings to Makhura at the end of November.

Dakile said Cosatu was calling on Peters and the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to stop isolating Makhura from the African National Congress and its alliance partners.

“We need to further state that the process of the review has been an agreement by the alliance in the province and therefore the national minister and Sanral must never attempt to isolate the premier [from them],” he said.

Next month, Cosatu will burn e-tags and bills during a protest outside Sanral’s office in Pretoria.

Dakile said the protest would include a drive-slow on October 18 to Sanral’s office. E-tags and bills would be burnt in front of the office.

“All those who had bought the e-tags need to be afforded an opportunity to burn them.

“[Cosatu] further resolved that all those who have received their monthly bill should also be afforded the opportunity to burn them.”

The trade union federation called on Gauteng motorists to not buy e-tags or pay their bills. Dakile said motorists should not be bullied by what he called “unlawful Sanral roadblocks” on highways.

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Transport minister must give e-toll panel a chance