Groups welcome suspension of toll projects

2011-10-24 20:02

Johannesburg - The suspension of toll road projects across the country drew wide approval on Monday.

The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) and AfriForum all welcomed the decision.

"Samwu is glad that the toll road projects nationally have been halted for now," said spokesperson Tahir Sema.

"The Freedom Front Plus welcomes the Minister of Transport, Mr S'bu Ndebele's decision to postpone the implementation of the Gauteng tollgate project," said Anton Alberts, spokesperson on transport.

"Halting of toll road processes until February 2012 is a victory for civil rights," said AfriForum spokesperson Alana Bailey.

At the weekend, Ndebele ordered the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to halt all processes related to the tolling of national roads.

"The Gauteng freeway improvement project, the Wild Coast and the Cape Winelands toll highway project(s) were all done without proper consultation with stakeholders and the public," said Sema.

"The working class were not going to co-operate with the project and pay over exorbitant amounts of money to use the country's roads."

Sema added: "Apart from just halting the toll road projects, government must investigate... who was responsible for steamrollering these projects past all the relevant processes."

The Freedom Front Plus said it believed that the handing in of more than 100 000 audited protest signatures at the Gauteng Legislature had made an essential contribution to the decision to suspend the tolls.

"The decision to halt the project comes approximately a week after the signatures were handed over to the legislature," said Alberts.

He said the inter-party coalition amongst political parties at the Gauteng Legislature had made it clear that people from across a wide spectrum were opposed to the tollgate system.

AfriForum said halting of toll road processes was a victory for civil rights.

"It's time the government realised that burdening the public with more taxes is not sustainable," said spokeswoman Alana Bailey.

She said ordinary salaried motorists, unlike transport companies and taxis, could not deduct toll expenses from taxable income.

"AfriForum hopes the new process of public participation that was announced will pave the way for eliminating the discriminatory inequalities," she said.

  • Mark - 2011-10-24 20:23

    Now, what about the scrapping of tolls in the urban areas such as Pretoria to Hammanskraal, which is essentially a commute to work.

      Reshan - 2011-10-24 20:54

      Sign up and be a part of the solution: More:

      Mark - 2011-10-24 21:23

      @Reshan. I certainly have - quite a while ago. Way to go!

  • gary.dasilva - 2011-10-24 20:40

    We are not interested in a suspension - SANRAL MUST desisit from going ahead with these and the ones errected around Johannesburg / PTA must be dismanteled -

  • Peter - 2011-10-24 20:45

    All very well, but how are we going to pay for developing new roads and maintain existing ones? Imagine if we had to drive from Joburg to Durban on the old windy road that took 8 hours. A popular decision for which we will pay a heavy price.

      ffaarg - 2011-10-24 21:15

      With tax money. We don't need another inefficient fiefdom used to enrich a few. Let's start with the 100 billion the finance minister agrees is lost to corruption in government each year. And that is not evening considering the cost of incompetence. We dont need another revenue collection point. Income tax, Vat and petrol is more than enough.

  • Reshan - 2011-10-24 20:45

    Fuel keeps going up, planet is dying, roads are too expensive to build and maintain, South Africa listed as 3rd most obese nation in the world, no jobs, car prices keep going up and taxed, stress with just getting to work. It looks like the Gautrain is a massive hit with everyone that is able to use it so why not spend the money on a safe, reliable, alternate transport system that can help better SA?

      Grant - 2011-10-24 22:53

      "Gautrain is a massive hit with everyone that is able to use it" I don't know how to interpret your comment. I had a bit of a try to get statistics but gave up. The part where you say 'everyone that is able to use it'. Who does that include? Those who live and work near the very few stations? The well heeled office workers whose company transport them to and from the station? I've lived in London where there are about 8 differnt lines and lots of stations. Millions of commuters use the 'tube' each day yet they are always pleading povery and increase their fares each year. What hope has Gautrain ever got of being economically viable? It is going to be a white elephant and the taxpater will be supporting it.

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