There are alternatives to e-tolls: Mashatile


The ANC in Gauteng wants to submit alternatives to e-tolling in the province, chairman Paul Mashatile said on Sunday.

"Conference did not talk about scrapping the e-tolls. We said we don't support e-tolling in its current form," he told reporters at the end of a three-day elective summit in Pretoria.

"Conference said the PEC [provincial executive committee] should go and make presentations to the review panel on their behalf. One of the things that was thrown in at conference was a fuel levy."

Asked what the summit had resolved would be done with the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) staff dedicated to the e-tolling system, Mashatile said the agency would decide.

"I am sure they can be re-skilled and given other jobs. I am sure there is a lot of work for them," said Mashatile. "The work of Sanral is not only e-tolls. They also do roads nationally, but we leave that to Sanral to decide."

On Friday, Mashatile told delegates at the conference that recommendations of the e-tolls review panel will be implemented.

"We cannot close our eyes in Gauteng when our people have problems," he told the party's provincial conference in Pretoria. "If anybody is going to come to me and say 'don't discuss e-tolls', I won't agree. We must be the first, as ANC, to say to our people we have heard you." He said government agencies, particularly Sanral, did not run the country. "It's not that I don't like Sanral, but they must know their place," he said.

Mashatile told delegates that Sanral officials had been "making a lot of noises" about the Gauteng e-tolls.

Gauteng premier David Makhura established a review panel to examine the economic and social impact of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and the electronic tolling system set up to fund it. The panel is expected to present its findings to Makhura at the end of November.

Provincial secretary Hope Papo said the summit had resolved on Sunday to oppose e-tolls in the province. He was reading out declarations at the three-day elective conference. "The current system is too expensive, traffic flows have been negatively affected. We would rather have a fuel levy," said Papo to applause from hundreds of delegates. He said the party provincial structure would seek to make submissions to a review panel established by Gauteng Premier David Makhura to probe the socio-economic impact of the e-tolls.

President Jacob Zuma did not address the conference as scheduled on Sunday. A programme of the three-day summit, issued on Friday by the provincial structure, indicated that Zuma would address delegates on Sunday. In Zuma's place, African National Congress deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte gave a brief speech. "There is clearly an attempt to delegitimise our movement in the eyes of the people despite the many great things we have done in the past 20 years," she said. "Even today, this conference has been reduced to the fact that the president is doing work somewhere else. There is no gap between the Gauteng leadership and the (ANC) national executive committee."

Former arts and culture minister, Mashatile was re-elected chairman of the province, while premier David Makhura was elected deputy chairman at the Pretoria summit.

Mashatile was booted out of Cabinet when President Zuma announced a reshuffle in May. He was replaced by Nathi Mthethwa who was moved from the police ministry.


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