Tolls compared to paying to use a toilet

By Drum Digital
10 October 2013

The user-pays principle to be implemented on Gauteng's freeways was comparable to paying to use a toilet.

The user-pays principle to be implemented on Gauteng's freeways was comparable to paying to use a toilet, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.

"Those who use a facility, you pay R1 or R2. Those toilets need to be maintained. Would you pay [to use a] dirty toilet?" she asked.

She was speaking at the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (SACCI) annual convention.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance appeal against the implementation of e-tolls by the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral). Increasing the fuel levy was not the answer to funding the expansion and maintenance of road infrastructure, Peters told an infrastructure plenary at the SACCI convention in Midrand. "Many people are talking about using taxes," she said. "[The] fuel levy is not going to address our concerns... .We cannot put it [the cost] into the fuel levy." Given the amount of money the government contributed to social grants, using the fiscus as a separate option to pay for road infrastructure would negatively affect the poor.

"Should we take that money away from poor children whose fathers have slept on work surfaces?" she asked.

The politicisation of e-tolls, specifically the user-pays principle, did not help anyone.

"It doesn't help us to play politics with infrastructure development," Peters said.

The Democratic Alliance recently erected billboards on the N1 and N3 highways reading: "E-tolls: Proudly Brought To You By The ANC".

The ruling African National Congress said it had noted the billboards, but declined to comment.

Peters told reporters e-tolls would be operational by the end of the year.

Asked whether the government had celebrated Wednesday's court ruling, she replied: "It's not about celebration.... We just need to make sure to implement."

-by Sapa

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