EFF in Gauteng rejects calls to refund those who paid e-tolls

South Africa - Pretoria - 27 May 2021 - E-Tolls on the N1 highway near the Rigel rd offramp. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

South Africa - Pretoria - 27 May 2021 - E-Tolls on the N1 highway near the Rigel rd offramp. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 8, 2022


Johannesburg - The EFF in Gauteng has rejected the call to refund those who paid e-tolls, calling them "arrogant" companies and people who thought they were above society’s genuine call for e-tolls to be scrapped.

The party said they were the kind of people and companies that collaborated with and conformed to the apartheid regime, simply because it was given legitimacy by law.

The EFF said people and companies who could neither think nor empathise with the masses should never be rewarded for their elitist behaviour.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, during his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), last month announced the scrapping of e-tolls in Gauteng. Godongwana announced that Sanral’s R47 billion Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) debt was to be transferred to the national and Gauteng governments.

The EFF’s Gauteng provincial chairperson, Nkululeko Dunga, said the party had remained steadfast in its call to boycott e-tolls.

"We led marches in 2013 to the office of the premier, and we have questioned how these e-tolls would benefit the already overtaxed poor citizens of Gauteng.

"Year after year, we watched national ministers go against their very internal calls for the scrapping of e-tolls, yet they continued to insist that this was government policy even though they knew it was a lie. Today, we are told to be jubilant that Godongwana decided to listen to the masses and move to scrap these e-tolls."

Dunga said that with the ANC dying a quick death in the country, more especially in Gauteng, the EFF did not blame it for its "theatrics" as 2024 was around the corner.

"The EFF in Gauteng further notes the report by the South African Roads Agency (Sanral) that they are in debt to the tune of R47 million due to the non-payment of e-tolls. Let it be known now that the EFF will never support this corruption scheme; in fact, the premier must fundraise this money with his circle of friends in the corrupt ANC.

"The people of Gauteng still lack basic services such as access to clean water, efficient health care, food security, adequate schooling, better living conditions, and the list goes on and on," Dunga said.

He said the party called for the funds paid to e-tolls to be redirected to fixing the deplorable road infrastructure and sewage crisis plaguing townships in Gauteng.

"We cannot be arrested by futile issues such as the repayment of those who paid e-tolls while the province is falling apart," he said.

On Friday, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi unveiled the proposed financing model for the GFIP.

He said they needed to meet Godongwana and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to conclude on all outstanding matters, including determining the exact figure of the 30% contribution they needed to make towards settling the e-toll debt.

"(On) the issue of maintenance, our proposal as the provincial government was mainly and only on the 30%, but the minister’s speech included maintenance. We are not rejecting or objecting because these are national roads, and if we, as Gauteng, are expected to maintain them, there must be due process, and therefore we believe the meeting will clarify those aspects.

"There are also people who have been paying e-tolls, and they expect clarity from us. Also, we need to know what will become of the process of deregistering e-tolls," Lesufi said.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) CEO Wayne Duvenage said the e-toll mater was confusing.

"When the minister of finance indicated, during the MTBPS, that they would be funding the chief of debt through Treasury allocations so that it is the alternative funding mechanism to e-tolls. Then, they say, 70%, then 30%, would come from Gauteng province. Gauteng province has been asking questions as late as Friday on how much we are talking about and where this money is going to come from.

"It's very ill planned, and then you want the motorists, the last 15% or so, to carry on paying? Well, it's not going to happen, and there's nothing they can do about the fact that 85% don’t pay, so it really is confusing and crazy to come up with these statements.

"Well, it's just really not going to happen. I mentioned the compliance levels have dropped below 50%. Anybody paying e-tolls right now, against this backdrop, would be wasting their money as far as we're concerned," Duvenage said.

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