Makhura: Tolling "unaffordable and inequitable"

By Drum Digital
15 January 2015

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the tolling of the province's freeways is "unaffordable and inequitable".

Addressing the media about the findings of the panel he appointed last year to review the economic impact of e-tolls, Makhura said the report found that the controversial and unpopular system "places a disproportionate burden on low and middle income households".

"It is also administrative cumbersome," he said.

Makhura appointed academic Muxe Nkondo to chair the panel following his promises during the elections that he would look into the impact of e-tolls on the province's residents. Tolling was one of the major gripes voters raised during the elections in which the ANC's electoral mandate dropped to a mere 52% of the vote.

The panel also said that e-tolling would hurt those who lived on the margins of the province and needed to use the freeways to access places of business and employment in the cities.

"In this regard, the main recommendation is one that addresses the socio-economic impact of GFIP (Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project) and e-tolls, including issues of public transport infrastructure, environmental sustainability and spatial integration of the Gauteng province," Makhura said.

The panel has recommended a hybrid funding system, which may mean that tolls may not be scrapped altogether, but they may be supplemented by other methods of payment for the public roads. National policy-makers are not very keen to have them scrapped.

Makhura said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa would lead the consultation process on the panel's recommendation and the impact they will have on the affected spheres of government.

The premier promised to make a final announcement on the way forward when he delivers his state-of-the-province address in February.

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