Mboweni vs Makhura: Tense standoff over e-tolls

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and the Gauteng provincial legislature are at odds when it comes to e-tolls, and this could compromise revenue allocations to the province.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura this week in his State of the Province Address said that e-tolls would be scrapped. The resolution was initially taken at the Gauteng ANC conference in July 2018, News24 reported.

But on Friday, Mboweni took to Twitter to express views that users of e-tolls must pay. Mboweni was on his way to Kigali, Rwanda when he tweeted: "I don’t know why the middle and upper classes in Gauteng want to complicate our lives. The working class do not pay e-tolls!! Public transport! Hello…"

After stopping in Lusaka, Zambia, the minister picked up the debate – warning that revenue allocations to municipalities with outstanding debt would be reduced, this includes Gauteng when it comes to e-tolls.

"As a matter of prudent financial management, those national, provincial and local authorities, who owe Eskom, should be top sliced when the division of revenue is done. You owe Eskom, I reduce your allocations. Period!," Mboweni tweeted. 

"And GP e-tolls too!! User must pay!!"

Mboweni added that Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, should not "pick a fight" with the finance minister who is in charge of provincial allocations.

"I am certain that the Premier of Gauteng knows that you have to be careful before you pick up a fight with a National Minister of Finance. The one who controls allocations! I would be careful if I were him," he said. 

He later tweeted: "Many years ago I was taught that you need to know and stay on your lane!"

The ANC's provincial executive committee has issued a statement slamming Mboweni's comments for undermining efforts being made by the provincial and national team to find a solution for the system. "The Provincial Executive Committee reiterates its position on the E-Toll system - that it has no future in this province," the statement read.

The PEC said it would extend an invitation to Mboweni to attend a PEC meeting to go through their resolutions, adding that the solution for the system would not put the sovereign under further financial pressure.

Makhura in turn tweeted that he referred the matter to President Cyril Ramaphosa for "final resolution". He added that Mboweni was just a minister, and not president.

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