E-tolls: how to make your voice heard

Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) is calling on citizens to have their say on e-tolls at the public meetings held by the Gauteng e-toll review panel – and has provided a guide on how to go about doing so.

The public meetings are currently in progress, and will continue until the end of September.

The dates and venues of the public meetings still to be held are:

  • 19 September from 09h00 to 12h00 at Falala Community Hall
  • 19 September from 17h00 to 20h00 at Tshwane Metro Police Department Head Quarters Main Hall
  • 20 September from 09h00 to 12h00 at Cosmo City High School, Central African Republic Road
  • 22 September from 17h00 to 20h00 at the banquet hall at council chambers in Germiston
  • 23 September from 09h00 to 12h00 at Brakpan Indoor Center in Brakpan
  • 23 September from 15h00 to 17h00 at Rabasotho Hall in Tembisa
  • 25 September from 09h00 to 12h00 at Ratanda MPCC
  • 25 September from 13h00 to 16h00 at Meyerton Hall
  • 25 September from 17h00 to 20h00 at Vereeniging City Hall
  • 26 September from 09h00 to 12h00 at the Civic Centre, Carltonville
  • 26 September from 15h00 to 18h00 at Centenary Hall, Mogale City

“The purpose of the Gauteng e-tolls review panel is neither to promote nor to knock e-tolling as a method of building roads infrastructure and the formally appointed panel members thereon have been tasked with assessing the socioeconomic impact of e-tolling in an unbiased fashion,” JPSA said.

“They are receiving inputs from anyone and any organisation with a material interest in either promoting or opposing this model.”

The public hearings have been set up for the panel to hear from ordinary people and representatives of groups with a common interest, JPSA said, stressing that it was not a time for political parties and their contingents and supporters to make political speeches.

“JPSA respectfully asks that the political parties wait for their turn, which has been catered for,” it said.

The full guide on how to compile and present at the public meetings can be found on JPSA’s website.

Even if interested parties do not get to speak to the panel through a verbal submission, JPSA head Howard Dembovsky says that a written submission guarantees that your voice will be heard.

A waste of time?

Recent comments have painted the review panel as a waste of time, with there being little chance of e-tolls going away as a result of presentations.

However, Dembovsky said that it’s unhelpful to feel one way or another until the process has run its course.

“No-one can say for sure whether the Gauteng e-tolls review panel is or is not a waste of time and effort, and indeed, public money, especially in light of the conflicting stances that have been taken and expressed by Sanral and the Minister of Transport and the Gauteng Provincial Government.”

“We do not believe that it would be helpful to anyone to automatically assume that the Gauteng e-tolls review panel is nothing more than another public relations exercise,” Dembovsky said.

“Instead, such judgments should be reserved until the entire process has run its course and an outcome has been attained.”

The e-toll panel is expected to present its findings in November 2014.

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E-tolls: how to make your voice heard