David Makhura promises to review e-tolling

2014-06-27 12:07

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Gauteng Premier David Makhura has pledged to set up a panel to review the e-tolling of Gauteng’s freeways.

E-tolling was unpopular long before the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) introduced it in December last year, and many motorists in the province have refused to buy tags needed for the system to work.

The issue has also cost the ANC electoral support in the province, bringing it to about 54% from 64% in the previous elections.

Delivering his state of the province speech in Thokoza township on the East Rand today, Makhura said the e-tolling panel would “review the impact of e-tolls and invite new proposals on how we can find a lasting solution to this matter”.

The panel will also involve municipalities and the national government, under which the controversial tolling system falls.

However, he added a caveat to his promise.

“While we shall not promise easy solutions and claim easy victories, we must make it clear that we cannot close our eyes to the cries of sectors of our population who are severely affected by the cost of travelling in the province.

“We must all move from the premise that we need good roads in our province to support economic development. How we finance such infrastructure must be deliberated and agreed upon,” Makhura said.

He also promised to revitalise township economies, and to change the divide created by the geography of apartheid that has kept workers far from workplaces.

He said workers spent nearly 70% of their earnings on transport, and also blamed the ANC for reproducing the “apartheid spatial legacy” by building homes away from work opportunities.

“With regards to existing human settlements, we shall make extra efforts to invest in the renewal of 25 old townships and old informal settlements that have been neglected.

“We cannot revitalise the township economy if the social and economic infrastructure is decaying and the look and feel of these working class areas is neglected,” he said.

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