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E-toll now in final stage

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:25:34

This article was originally published by TheNewage (www.thenewage.co.za) via Legal Brief Today (www.legalbrief.co.za)

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Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
Political parties are preparing to square up in the National Council of Provinces when the controversial e-tolling bill is tabled before the council’s select committee on public services on Tuesday.
Both the DA and IFP on Monday called for more public hearings on the Transport Laws and Related Matters Bill because they believe the government did not consult sufficiently in the process.
The Department of Transport will brief them on the draft legislation that will take the implementation of e-tolling a step closer in Gauteng. The National Assembly approved the proposed law a few weeks ago.
Chairperson of the select committee Patrick Sibande said they would decide on the process to be followed at today’s meeting.
The Deputy Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, said last month that they would implement e-tolls in Gauteng in July.
DA leader in the NCOP Elza van Lingen said the government had not conducted sufficient public hearings on the Transport Laws and Related Matters Bill.
“Our position is that it deserves proper public hearings. We tried to fight it from the beginning to make it a provincial bill,” she said, adding that the ANC government argued that the bill was a national necessity.
The public would enable the government to know what was happening on the ground.
“There should be public hearings. If the Minister (of Transport Ben Martins) is so confident why can’t he have public hearings? This is not a decision to be taken without public hearings. This is a constitutional democracy and they must understand that public hearings must be conducted,” the DA leader in the NCOP added.
IFP MP Prince Muntukaphiwana Zulu, who serves on the select committee on public services, said his party believed the government had not conducted sufficient work on e-tolls.
“We reject e-tolls because people were not consulted. In any lawmaking process you must involve the people. There should be further consultations. As a party we will tell the committee that there should be public hearings,” he said.
The NCOP had a mandate of ensuring that the voice of the provinces was heard.
Cope chief whip in the NCOP Dennis Bloem said they rejected the bill.
The party would oppose the draft law in the select committee.
They would not support the “privatisation of the roads”, said Bloem.
Spokesperson for the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) Vusi Mona said they were ready to start implementing e-tolls.
“We are anxiously waiting for the bill to be tabled so that we can start with e-tolling in Gauteng,” he said.
Meanwhile the ANC in the Western Cape said on Monday it would talk to the national Department of Transport and Sanral about proposed e-tolls in the province. The national government is planning to toll the N1/N2 Winelands highways.
ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile accused the DA of using the issue to score political points.
The DA has said it would use the tolling of the two highways as an election campaign issue.
Mjongile said the matter needed to be resolved.
“The issue of main concern is the financial burden that tolling will have on the workers and the cost of production, as this will increase the cost of goods and services in the province,” the provincial secretary said.
“The ANC is calling for all possible ways of financing the improvement and maintenance of roads and other infrastructure to be considered,” he added.

Proposed tolling routes
» N1-N2 Winelands toll road in the Western Cape
» N2 Wild Coast toll road in the Eastern Cape
» E-tolling on the N1, N3, N12 and R21 in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni in Gauteng


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