Groups welcome suspension of toll projects
Johannesburg - The suspension of toll road projects across the country drew wide approval on Monday.
The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) and AfriForum all welcomed the decision.
"Samwu is glad that the toll road projects nationally have been halted for now," said spokesperson Tahir Sema.
"The Freedom Front Plus welcomes the Minister of Transport, Mr S'bu Ndebele's decision to postpone the implementation of the Gauteng tollgate project," said Anton Alberts, spokesperson on transport.
"Halting of toll road processes until February 2012 is a victory for civil rights," said AfriForum spokesperson Alana Bailey.
At the weekend, Ndebele ordered the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to halt all processes related to the tolling of national roads.
"The Gauteng freeway improvement project, the Wild Coast and the Cape Winelands toll highway project(s) were all done without proper consultation with stakeholders and the public," said Sema.
"The working class were not going to co-operate with the project and pay over exorbitant amounts of money to use the country's roads."
Sema added: "Apart from just halting the toll road projects, government must investigate... who was responsible for steamrollering these projects past all the relevant processes."
The Freedom Front Plus said it believed that the handing in of more than 100 000 audited protest signatures at the Gauteng Legislature had made an essential contribution to the decision to suspend the tolls.
"The decision to halt the project comes approximately a week after the signatures were handed over to the legislature," said Alberts.
He said the inter-party coalition amongst political parties at the Gauteng Legislature had made it clear that people from across a wide spectrum were opposed to the tollgate system.
AfriForum said halting of toll road processes was a victory for civil rights.
"It's time the government realised that burdening the public with more taxes is not sustainable," said spokeswoman Alana Bailey.
She said ordinary salaried motorists, unlike transport companies and taxis, could not deduct toll expenses from taxable income.
"AfriForum hopes the new process of public participation that was announced will pave the way for eliminating the discriminatory inequalities," she said.