E-tolls like toilets: minister
The user-pays principle to be implemented on Gauteng's freeways was comparable to paying to use a toilet, transport minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.
The user-pays principle to be implemented on Gauteng’s freeways was comparable to paying to use a toilet, transport minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday.
“Those who use a facility, you pay R1 or R2. Those toilets need to be maintained. Would you pay [to use a] dirty toilet?” she asked.
She was speaking at the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) annual convention.
On Wednesday, the supreme court of appeal dismissed an Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) appeal against the implementation of e-tolls by roads agency Sanral.
Increasing the fuel levy was not the answer to funding the expansion and maintenance of road infrastructure, Peters told an infrastructure plenary at the Sacci convention in Midrand.
“Many people are talking about using taxes,” she said. “The fuel levy is not going to address our concerns. We cannot put it [the cost] into the fuel levy.”
Given the amount of money the government contributed to social grants, using the fiscus as a separate option to pay for road infrastructure would negatively affect the poor. “Should we take that money away from poor children whose fathers have slept on work surfaces?” she asked.
The politicisation of e-tolls, specifically the user-pays principle, did not help anyone. “It doesn’t help us to play politics with infrastructure development,” Peters said.
The Democratic Alliance recently erected billboards on the N1 and N3 highways reading: “E-tolls: proudly brought to you by the ANC.”
The ANC said it had noted the billboards, but declined to comment. Peters told reporters e-tolls would be operational by the end of the year. Asked whether the government had celebrated Wednesday’s court ruling, she replied: “It’s not about celebration. We just need to make sure to implement.”
Meanwhile, the Outa was expected to brief media on Thursday on the way forward after the supreme court of appeal dismissed its appeal against e-tolls. The court dismissed Outa’s appeal on Wednesday in its e-toll challenge against Sanral.
Outa believed e-tolling was illegal and unreasonable. The e-tolls are reportedly set to start next month. — Sapa