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Govt urged: Find e-toll alternative

2012-07-20 10:13

Several organisations met with government's inter-ministerial committee to discuss the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and alternative funding models.

The best possible solutions needs to be explored for the implementation of the GFIP, says deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Motlanthe said: "There should be no overburdening of poor people with added cost."

However the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), which oversees the project, says it needs capital to fund its operation.

Thabo Masebe, spokesman for deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, who chairs the committee, said groups raised concerns about the project.

The organisations who attended were Business Unity SA (Busa), the Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (Savrala), the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), the Road Freight Association (RFA) and religious leaders.

INCREASE TO THE FUEL LEVY?

Masebe said: "In the interest of transparency, government shared information with stakeholders to contextualise the GFIP and provide clarity on technical issues.

"Technical details shared with stakeholders included, among others, some of the explanations for the operational and administrative cost of the e-toll system."

Masebe said presentations were shown on immediate-to-short-term programmes, as well as long-term plans to develop an integrated public transport system in the country.

He said: "Stakeholders argued strongly for alternative funding models for the GFIP, including [increasing the] fuel levy.

"Government is aware of the concerns of stakeholders and is committed to consider all suggestions in deciding on a way forward. All stakeholders present agreed to engage further to address specific issues."

On March 7, Cosatu held a nationwide strike against e-tolling and labour brokering. On April 26 an agreement was reached in a meeting between the African National Congress and the union to delay the implementation of the project by a month.

On April 28 the High Court in Pretoria granted an urgent interdict, brought by Outa, to stop implementation of the tolling system, so that a full court review could be carried out to decide if it should be scrapped.

SAPA