Sanral doesn't run this country: Mashatile

By Drum Digital
03 October 2014

Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile has thrown down gauntlet to Sanral on e-tolls.

Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile has thrown down gauntlet to Sanral on e-tolls, saying the provincial government would implement the recommendations of the panel it has appointed to review them.

The tolling of Gauteng’s freeways has been a contentious issue since it was introduced, and some have blamed it for the ANC’s lackluster performance in the province at the general elections in May. The party’s support declined from 64% to over 53%.

Delivering his political report to the party’s elective conference in Tshwane, Mashatile sought to dispel rumours that Gauteng Premier David Makhura was at odds with his party at national level by appointing the panel. The panel, which has started public hearings on the social and economic impact of tolling in Gauteng, is headed by academic Muxe Nkondo.

“The work of the panel will inform us on the best financing model of public infrastructure for the province. The outcome needs to be carefully considered for us to continue building our world-class infrastructure.

“In public discourse there are those who say comrade Makhura is going this way and the national government is going that way. It’s not true, we are together. There may be different views, but as the ANC in Gauteng we are behind this panel,” he said.

Mashatile told the delegates that Makhura had consulted President Jacob Zuma before embarking on the initiative, and rubbished claims that the review of e-tolls was a move to embarrass the president.

Sanral, the national roads agency, has reportedly refused to participate in the public hearings. Reports suggest that it is doing so with the full backing of Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.

Mashatile, however, said the complaints of the people of the province about tolling should not be ignored.

“We must be the first to say to our people, ‘we have heard your problem, let’s solve them’. I don’t know if the people from Sanral are here, but they forget that they don’t run this country.

“People from agencies don’t run this country. The ANC does. I don’t like agencies that take on politicians. We appoint officials to implement the policies of the ANC. If they have a problem, they must talk to the ANC, not the media.

Meanwhile ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, who delivered the keynote address at the conference expressed concern about the decline of the party’s support at polls in the province.

He urged the delegates to discuss the causes of the decline and e-tolling without tearing each other apart.

Mashatile is expected to be retained as chairperson when the delegates vote this weekend, while Makhura is expected to ascend to the position of deputy chairperson.

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