Johannesburg - As much as the ANC tries to downplay the decline in its support in Gauteng, it can largely be attributed to the decision to force e-tolls on an unwilling and angry public, according to John Clarke
, spokesperson for the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).
He said Outa noted with interest what it calls "the dismissive comments" made by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe
about the impact of e-tolls on the elections.
He stated the people of Gauteng "must stop whinging and pay up".
Clarke said the public would not pay for something "they were not adequately consulted on nor asked for”.
“The eleven percentage point drop-off in overall electoral support for the ANC in Gauteng translates into a substantive decline in the traditional support base of the ANC since the 2009 elections," said Clarke.
“While the Nkandla issue has been a national one, e-tolls have been concentrated in the province of Gauteng, which is where the biggest haemorrhage of ANC support took place.”
Clarke said the ANC provincial chair Paul Mashatile
recently said that some "honest introspection" was needed to identify why the Gauteng ANC has lost votes.
“When the new Gauteng provincial legislature convenes, the ANC will have seven fewer members than before. Their 40 members of the provincial parliament will face a combined total of 33 opposition members from both the left and the right, all of whom are opposed to e-tolls," said Clarke.
In his view Mantashe is not serving the interests of the ANC by playing along with what he calls "Sanral’s ambitious e-tolls”.
Outa chair Wayne Duvenage, said the Gauteng-based ANC leadership would be wise to embark on a path of meaningful engagement with stakeholders on the e-toll issue as soon as possible, "before it gets any messier".
"If they want the truth on how the Gauteng public feel about e-tolls, they should consider calling a referendum, or take a serious look at the myriad of polls and discussions on the matter," said Duvenage.
He claims over a million freeway users in Gauteng are defying the system and said the system has serious administrative problems.
"The e-toll decision was always flawed as a result of poor research, weak data and an arrogant attitude employed by Sanral to convince the authorities to proceed," said Duvenage.
"It’s certainly not going to get better.”