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DA to push for e-toll review

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E-tolling and its effects since implementation should be reviewed in Parliament, DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said on Monday.

The Democratic Alliance would ask the transport portfolio committee to do the review over the coming days, Maimane told reporters in Johannesburg.

“We contend because e-tolls were introduced by enabling legislation passed by the National Assembly, it’s the responsibility of Parliament to monitor the impact of its implementation.”

This included whether its stated aims and objectives were being met. Electronic tolling of several of Gauteng’s highways started at midnight on December 3 last year.

Maimane said the portfolio committee, in its review, needed to conduct a socio-economic impact assessment of e-tolls since they were introduced.

Based on that assessment, a viability projection for the immediate and long-term future had to be done.

The views of South Africans and, in particular those living in Gauteng, and all other interested parties, also had to be fully canvassed.

“We need to know, not speculate, on the effects [e-tolling has] on people and business,” he said.

While the DA welcomed a recent announcement by Gauteng premier David Makhura that e-tolling would be reviewed, if the African National Congress was serious about the matter Transport Minister Dipuo Peters should welcome the review, he said.

Maimane said funding for road construction and infrastructure development should come from a small increase in the fuel levy, equivalent to a few cents, which would negate the further need for e-tolls.

“The e-tolls system is an economic burden that is putting further pressure on the strained finances of South Africans,” Maimane said.

“If you put a national levy right across, what you are then saying to South Africans is that when we build infrastructure in Gauteng, which is to the benefit of the country as a whole, you can collectively share in the cost. That’s the argument.”

He, along with DA transport spokesman Manny De Freitas, would also be drafting a private member’s bill to amend the Transport and Related Matters Amendment Act to make the imposition of future e-tolls both consultative and democratic.

This was in comparison with the clear lack of consultation that took place regarding Gauteng’s current e-tolls, Maimane said.

The act allowed for the collection of electronically recorded tolls and implementation of the e-toll collection system.

In his state-of-the-province address on June 27, Makhura announced plans to review e-tolling in the province.

“We shall set up a panel to review the impact of e-tolls and invite new proposals on how we can find a lasting solution to this matter, working with the national government, municipalities and all sectors of society,” he said in Thokoza, on the East Rand.

He said deliberations were needed on how to finance road infrastructure. SAPA

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