The ANC has withdrawn the controversial Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill (the e-toll bill) shortly before its scheduled second reading debate in Parliament on Thursday (22 November), according to a statement from the Democratic Alliance.
The committee’s deliberations on the bill will now continue in the new year, according to the DA’s shadow minister of transport, Ian Ollis.
The bill can only be considered by Parliament when it opens on 10 February 2013 and will then be sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), he said.
The committee agreed to request the NCOP to have public hearings in all provinces which have metro cities where e-tolls could be implemented in future.
“This is indeed a victory for opposition parties and the South African public,” the DA said in a statement.
“We will be monitoring the situation closely to ensure that all proper processes are followed when this bill is considered by Parliament in 2013 and that adequate public participation has taken place through the NCOP.”
The DA has added it’s voice in opposition to the e-tolls, which includes worker’s union Cosatu and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) who have all spoken and acted out against the controversial tolling system.
All parties believe that alternative models can be identified to fund the required infrastructure expansion.
The great e-toll battle
In April, the High Court granted OUTA an interdict, ruling that a full review of the e-tolling system needed to be carried out before electronic tolling could be put into effect.
The High Court also put in place an interim order which put the Gauteng e-tolling project on hold.
In September, the Constitutional Court overturned this interim order; however, the ruling and the tolling project remained flooded in controversy, with much outrage coming from the public and industry players.
In October, transport minister Ben Martins marked the beginning of the 30-day public consultation process leading up to the full review of e-tolling, after Cabinet agreed on revised tariffs for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.
Public consultations on the revised tariffs took place in the week of 12 November, though both OUTA and Cosatu said that the consultations were not sufficient enough to allow goverment to push ahead with the project.