Sanral proceeding with e-tag sales despite public hearings

2011-11-12 17:16

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) will continue to sell e-tags despite public hearings into the controvercial Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

The national Department of Transport yesterday said the start of registering motorists for the e-tolling system is in line with Cabinet’s decision to implement Phase-1 of the GFIP.

A huge outcry followed the start, on Monday, of the early sale of e-tags.

Civil bodies, unions and political parties are upset that all the phases of the GFIP are not on hold while the Gauteng petition standing committee is still conducting public consultations at the provincial legislature.

Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi told the meeting Sanral should have waited with the selling of e-tags until the outcome of the petition hearings.

Tiyane Rikhotso, spokesperson for the minister of transport Sbu Ndebele, yesterday said Sanral is acting in line with the approval given by Cabinet earlier this year to implement Phase-1 of the GFIP by February.

“This process was approved by Cabinet. The work Sanral is doing is in line with that decision.”

Rikhotso said the national transport department has taken note of the petition hearings and will revise and address all the issues raised if a petition is forwarded to Ndebele’s office after the hearings.

“It is a very sensitive issue and we do not want it to turn into a political football, therefore the department will not react now to what was said at the hearing,” he added.

Sanral did not respond to the public outcry over the selling of the e-tags and instead said through a statement issued by PR agency, Magna Carta, the agency takes its direction from the national Department of Transport.

In another statement sent by Magna Carta, Sanral claims the “e-toll registration drive has been very successful thus far”, but did not elaborate on how many road users have registered this week.

At the petition hearing, Cosatu and the Democratic Alliance threatened to paint the streets “red” and “blue” if the tolls are not scrapped.

Cosatu called on the disbandment of Sanral and that all the companies and directors who have benefited from the construction of the toll-gates and the escalating cost of the project be made public.

The union’s Gauteng Provincial Secretary Dumisani Dakile said Gauteng residents and workers have not been consulted on the introduction of the toll-gates.

“The process has been done behind closed doors without any transparency and consideration of the people that such a system will affect,” he said.

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