Makhura unveils his e-tolls panel

By Drum Digital
10 July 2014

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has announced some of the members of the panel of experts he has appointed to review the social and economic impact of the controversial e-tolls in the province.

Makhura promised to undertake the review the e-tolling system when he delivered his state of the province address in Tokoza last month. At the time, Makhura said he was making good on his electoral promises to review the unpopular system, and the fact that many motorist had refused to buy e-tags.

The panel will be chaired by Professor Muxe Nkondo, the former vice chancellor of the University of Venda, and is due to table it's final report at the end of November. Other members of the panel include former civil servant Patricia Hanekom, lawyer John Ngcebetya and Wits economist Chris Malekane.

Makhura said the panel would ask for submissions from the public and would also study the impact e-tolls have had on the provincial economy.

The terms of the panel are as follows:

>>> to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the socio-economic the improvement of the freeways and e-tolling have had on Gauteng

>>> to ask for submissions from the public about the impact of e-tolls and proposed solutions

>>> to submit the finding and recommendations to the provincial government

Makhura said the panel would submit monthly reports, but asked the public to continue paying for e-tolls while his government sought a solution to the impasse.

"I wish to reiterate that while we shall not promise easy solutions and claim easy victories with the establishment of this panel, we are a saying we shall not turn a blind eye or close our ears to the cries of the people who are negatively affected by the cost of travelling across the province," Makhura said.

Although e-tolls are the competency of the national government, Makhura has the blessing of the ANC in his effort to scrap them. The party lost about 11% of its support at this year's elections, and some within its ranks have blamed passing of e-tolling laws in the build-up to the elections.

However, Makhura said those who thought his government was doing the review to avert an impending disaster at the 2016 municipal elections, where his party risks losing some metros, were "cynical".

Some within the provincial ANC want the petrol levy to be increased to pay back the R20 billion debt incurred by the government to improve the freeways.

By Sabelo Ndlangisa

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