IFP criticises new La Mercy toll plaza

in dispute: The tower at the new new nternational airport at La Mercy in Durban. Pic: TEBOGO LETSIE. 13/10/2009. © Sunday Times.
in dispute: The tower at the new new nternational airport at La Mercy in Durban. Pic: TEBOGO LETSIE. 13/10/2009. © Sunday Times.

THE IFP has slammed the construction of a new toll plaza near the new Durban airport during yesterday's Economic Development and Tourism budget briefing in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

"The toll plaza at La Mercy Airport is nearing completion but no one in the provincial government has bothered to formally announce its construction, let alone enlist views of the public about its future operation," IFP spokesperson Lionel Mtshali said.

KwaZulu-Natal has witnessed a vigorous public debate on the subject of additional toll gates, but the discussion was always focused on the proposed plaza on N2 at Isipingo.

"The new toll plaza near La Mercy Airport came about entirely by stealth - without otherwise much trumpeted public participation," said Mtshali.

He said the IFP accepted that toll was a national competency and decisions regarding toll gates belonged to the SA Roads Agency, "but the apparent lack of communication with the provincial government and the public in the province was disconcerting".

"We are naturally concerned about the added cost of passenger travel to and from the new airport. The proximity of the Tongaat Plaza to the site of the new plaza is also worrying," Mtshali said.

He said the first official admission by Dube Trade Port that the toll gate was being constructed emerged rather reluctantly during Tuesday's Economic Development and Tourism portfolio committee's budget pre-hearing.

Pressed by the IFP, Dube Trade Port confirmed during yesterday's budget hearing that the entity was aware of the toll gate from the inception of the airport project.

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