Gauteng ANC to ‘act’ on tolls

2011-02-21 11:15

The ANC in Gauteng will establish a task team to study the impact of the new tolling system on the province.

“The current toll road plan as it stands at the moment will have devastating consequences for the people of Gauteng and the economy,” ANC Gauteng spokesperson Dumisa Ntuli said in a statement today.

This, after the provincial executive committee (PEC) met on Friday to discuss the contentious system.

The announcement of the new tolling system sparked a public outcry with consumer groups and unions claiming the poor would be the hardest hit.

“A task team will be established to look at a comprehensive public transport strategy. The task team will also conduct an impact study of the tolling system,” said Ntuli.

“Government should create an affordable, reliable and efficient public transport plan before it introduces measures that will limit vehicles on Gauteng roads,” he said.

The ANC’s provincial leaders would meet their national counterparts to discuss the toll system and its impact.

Ntuli said the PEC had expressed “grave concern” about the economic and social impact of the tolling plan on Gauteng residents.

It had said a “tangible” and “better high level transport system” was needed in the province and this required “significant planning”.

“We need to cushion the impact in the short term and provide a lasting solution in the long term. Everyone must be able to use public transport.”

The Gauteng branch of labour federation Cosatu said it would submit a section-77 notice opposing the tolling system to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

The ANC-ally said it would fight the system “tooth and nail”, through among other things, mass demonstrations, a stay-away and possibly a strike.

Earlier this month, the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) announced that motorists could expect to pay 66 cents per kilometre before discounts when travelling on the 185km route.

Motorists who purchased the e-tag system would pay 49.5 cents a kilometre.

Medium-sized vehicles with the e-tag system would be charged R1.49 a kilometre and heavy-duty vehicles with an e-tag R2.97 a kilometre.

Motorists would get further discounts depending on when they used the highway and on whether they were frequent users.

Users of the 185-kilometre system would not have to stop at a traditional toll booth, but drive under gantries fitted with electronic equipment and cameras.

The gantries are between 5km and 14km apart.

The transport ministry has defended the system with Minister Sbu Ndebele reportedly urging people who did not like it, to use public transport.

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