Why didn’t you scrap e-tolls?

Opposition parties in the Gauteng legislature took premier David Makhura to task on Thursday for not scrapping the province’s e-tolling system.

Democratic Alliance MPL John Moodey said e-tolls had been a thorn in Makhura’s side since he took office last year.

“The people of this province have on numerous occasions and on numerous platforms said that e-tolls must go, yet the premier and the ANC refused to recommend they be scrapped,” he said during debate on Makhura’s state-of-the-province speech in Johannesburg on Monday.

“Only one solution remains, and that is for the premier to announce a provincial referendum on the future of e-tolls.”

Moodey criticised Makhura for delivering a state-of-the-province address which had no clear implementation timelines or deadlines.

Economic Freedom Fighters MPL Mandisa Mashego said Makhura had painted a “suspiciously rosy picture” which was full of plans but no action.

She said he had missed a golden opportunity by not announcing that e-tolls would be scrapped.

During his address on Monday, Makhura announced “major financial relief” to motorists.

“The provincial government is part of the current consultation process… to develop a better dispensation which will mitigate the negative impact of the e-tolls on the people of Gauteng, especially the middle and lower income groups.

“I am confident that the new dispensation should provide major financial relief to motorists, while simplifying the payment system to make it easy for road users to pay,” he said.

The provincial government was part of a consultation process led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Makhura said the final decision on the new dispensation would be made once the work of the intergovernmental team was completed, after receiving a report from the e-toll review panel.

Moodey, during Thursday’s debate, said people in Gauteng did not want a hybrid system of toll collection.

“In the review panel’s final report it became abundantly clear that e-tolls were forced onto the citizens of Gauteng with limited consultation,” he said.

Mashego had a hard time starting her speech on Thursday as African National Congress MPLs raised points of orders or points of privilege regarding statements she had made on Monday.

Mashego reportedly called Makhura a liar during his state-of-the-province speech.

Gauteng legislature Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe warned members about using “unparliamentary language”.

She said she would present a report on Friday on Mashego’s comments.

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Why didn’t you scrap e-tolls?