ANC fears e-tolls court probe – Zille

2012-05-02 06:26

DA leader Helen Zille said the ANC had agreed to postpone the start of Gauteng’s e-tolls for a month only because it didn’t want the matter to go to court.

At her party’s Workers Day rally on the Graceview Industrial Estate in Midvaal yesterday, Zille told journalists the ANC was afraid that lawyers would ask questions in court about how the contract was awarded to a foreign-owned company “with a very expensive model of tolling”.

She said since the controversial arms deal, which cost South Africa billions of rands while there had been many allegations of corruption involving high-ranking political leaders, South Africans were suspicious of large, expensive projects of this nature.

She said there was a cheaper way of funding the R20 billion e-tolling system.

“They should take it from the current fuel levy, because this was supposed to be used for fixing the roads and for improving public transport,” she said. “We don’t know what they are using it for at the moment.”

Zille said there was no need to add to the current fuel levy, and she had no problem if the whole country contributed towards Gauteng’s freeways through the levy.

“If transport in Gauteng becomes more expensive, it has a ripple effect on the rest of the country.”

She said it was not the DA’s policy to toll major highways, and if this happened, there should be proper public transport for the poor.

She also said the decision on Thursday by the department of transport to postpone the implementation of e-tolls for a month, came from Cosatu.

“(Transport Minister) Sbu Ndebele and (Finance Minister) Pravin Gordhan are now taking instructions from Cosatu. They (Cosatu) are in power while (President) Jacob Zuma is in government,” she said.

The implementation of the e-tolls was stopped by a court interdict on Saturday.

These will now only be implemented once the court gives the go-ahead after it has heard the whole case, brought by civil society group Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance.

The contract for the implementation and operations of the e-tolling system was awarded to the Electronic Toll Collection joint venture in 2009.

This includes a South African business, TMT Services and Supplies, and Kapsch TrafficCom AG, which has its headquarters in Austria.

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