E-tolls infringe on freedom of movement - EFF

Johannesburg - Making a profit from public roads borders on infringing freedom of movement, the EFF says, rejecting government alterations to e-toll fees announced on Wednesday.

"The most important outcome that South Africans wanted to hear is not a reduction of the costs of e-tolls, but the total eradication of e-tolls and their fees," national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Quintin Ndlozi said in a statement.

"The worst thing now is to link payment of roads to vehicle registration. Even when people travel from Mpumalanga to Gauteng they pay on a toll gate, and do not use vehicle registration or using licences."

This meant e-tolls were now "so important that they are equated to traffic fines", which may be seen as yet another infringement of the freedom of movement.

"It is the same as producing dompass to move from one place to the other. It also means the ANC government has commodified our roads; literally selling our freedom of movement."

Earlier on Wednesday, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in Cape Town that Gauteng’s e-toll fees for light motor vehicles would be reduced from 58c/km to 30c/km.

The monthly cap for e-toll fees would be “dramatically reduced” from R450 a month to R225, he said, briefing the media on a new dispensation for the electronic tolling of Gauteng’s freeways.

“Revised caps will also be introduced to other categories of vehicles and what have you. But here we are focusing on the bulk of users, which are light motor vehicles," he said.

Public transport would remain exempt from paying e-tolls.

There would be no fees charged for people who made less than 30 gantry passes a year.

The new dispensation would be implemented in phases. The new cap and revised tariffs would start in the next two to three months.

Ndlozi said the ANC government had demonstrated once more that it chose profit over people. 

"The e-tolls were a result of bad governmental decisions and this must not be carried by the public," he said.

"Government should seek alternative means of raising funds to improve public infrastructure. It should build state capacity to directly build roads and not the tender administrative crisis it has produced."

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