Opposition to the Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) was blasted by ANC MPs on Tuesday for being “concerned about the rich and promoting non-compliance”. By Thulani Gqirana, NewsAgency
Outa presented alternate mechanisms for financing e-tolls to Parliament’s transport committee on Tuesday.
They called for fuel levies to be used to finance the Gauteng freeways.
They also questioned the exemption of taxis from the e-toll system, and said public transport services were not even using their tags.
African National Congress MP Patrick Sibande said Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage had not presented any workable solutions to Parliament.
He said by supporting those who boycotted e-tolls, Outa was protecting criminals.
“You are not concerned about the poor here, you are not covering the poor. When you are talking about taxis being exempted, you are concerned about the rich.”
He said it was worrying and concerning that people were being encouraged not to pay e-tolls.
He told Duvenage to decide if their organisation was an opposition party or an NGO.
“Don’t be a chameleon,” he said.
Duvenage said they agreed that roads had to be paid for, but that another system had to be found.
“Infrastructure does not fall out of the sky, people have to pay for the services,” he said.
Another ANC MP Goodwill Radebe called for Outa to be more realistic.
He said the taxis that were exempted mostly carried poor, black people and said government had to be given credit for the work they were doing.
Making an example of DA MPs in Parliament, who he said did not use public transport enough, Radebe said more people needed to use buses and taxis.
Otherwise, they needed to pay the e-tolls.
All parties agreed that the issue of construction companies colluding during the building of the Gauteng freeway needed to be addressed.
Acting committee chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane said the committee would call Sanral to update them on what had been done so far to deal with collusion.
“You use the road, you pay for them.”
Duvenage found support only from DA MP Manny de Freitas.
De Freitas said the collection of e-tolls was administratively burdensome and expensive, as opposed to e-toll payments funded through the fuel levy which was easy and cost nothing to collect.
“The opposition to e-tolling is no longer about our roads, but about our democracy and how the public is treated and consulted by its government. The DA believes that the public will continue to oppose e-tolling, even if legislation is introduced forcing drivers to pay their e-toll bills, as motorists will rather drive with expired vehicle licenses than pay for this unjust system,” he said. – News24