Call for debate on new tolling

THE ANC in Gauteng says it has never been part of discussions that resulted in the installation tolls gates on the M1.

"That issue was never put before the provincial executive committee for discussion," ANC Gauteng spokesperson Dumisa Ntuli said.

The ANC was also unhappy that there were no broad consultations with communities.

"We are not opposed to toll gates in principle, but these toll gates will put a heavy burden on ordinary people," he said.

Transport Department spokesperson Logan Maistry was adamant yesterday that consultations took place.

"There was consultation and we are still going to consult further to get various views on the matter," Maistry said.

He said a summit would be held next month to address the tolling system.

According to a presentation made by the SA National Roads Agency in Pretoria yesterday the project was proposed in 2005, and an inter-governmental work group agreed on project principles.

The Department of Transport, Sanral and Gauteng government played a leading role in compiling a document "Gauteng network integration process".

The project was presented to the Gauteng government indaba, which was initiated by the then MEC for roads and transport Ignatius Jacobs.

Yesterday Cosatu demanded that the introduction of new toll gates on Gauteng roads be suspended.

"There has to be a proper debate and public consultation on the future of transport in the province," Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said.

He said the major problem with the proposed toll fees, of up to 66c/km, was that they would be imposed before viable alternative forms of public transport had been provided.

ANC national spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said the party had not discussed the matter raised by the ANC in Gauteng.

Political analyst Lesiba Tefu said the ANC in Gauteng "was making noise because it felt the heat from communities and it feared a backlash during the coming elections".

DA spokesperson Neil Campbell said his party was worried about the accuracy in capturing information that would be used to charge motorists.

"With the current billing chaos resulting mainly from the flawed Johannesburg computer system, not forgetting similar problems with the Ekurhuleni and Tshwane systems last year, yet another area of concern is being created with this system due to its complexity," Campbell said.

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