Gauteng Lesufi e-tolls scrapped

March 2012: E-toll protests in the streets of Johannesburg. (Siyabonga Africa / Flickr)

E-tolls: System could be scrapped, depending on presidential intervention

Will an open letter to the president finally break the e-tolls deadlock? Gauteng’s Provincial Secretary Jacob Khawe seems to think so.

Gauteng Lesufi e-tolls scrapped

March 2012: E-toll protests in the streets of Johannesburg. (Siyabonga Africa / Flickr)

The Gauteng ANC are stepping up their bid to rid the province of its failing e-tolls system. Jacob Khawe is the secretary for the region, and he’s penned a heartfelt open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking him to intervene.

The provincial arm of government seemed very confident that talks with Ramaphosa would eventually yield progress on the matter, which Khawe hopes will lead to an executive order that shuts down the gantries.

E-tolls have been nothing short of a disaster. Only 25% of road users even bother with compliance, and the six-year horror show has plunged Sanral into billions of rands worth of debt. Gauteng Premier David Makhura has previously lead marches against the toll gates, but their protests had seemingly fallen on deaf ears.

Gauteng ANC step up bid to scrap e-tolls

Not only did Sanral secretly renew the e-tolls contract to run until December 2019, but the president failed to address the issue during his State of the Nation Address earlier this month. However, Khawe is optimistic that Ramaphosa will listen to the voices of common sense:

“We’re disappointed that your speech said nothing about the scrapping of e-tolls. They have not worked in our province and the overwhelming majority of Gauteng motorists continue to refuse to pay. This drives up the cost of doing business and disproportionately diminishes the disposable incomes of both middle-income and poor households.”

“We are committed to engaging with you and affected government departments on the strategies we’ve developed on alternative funding and proposals for the payment of debt. We remain determined to work with you Mr President so that we can grow Gauteng and ultimately South Africa, together.”

Jacob Khawe

Policy ahead of the 2019 Elections

Much to the consternation of many road users, e-toll fees were increased by 5% at the start of February. The rate increase is the last thing motorists have been asking for, and the ignored citizens of Gauteng will hope that this latest throw of the dice from their elected representatives will get Ramaphosa onside.

In fact, Gauteng will be one of the most fiercely contested battlegrounds in the 2019 Elections. The DA – notorious opponents of e-tolls – have stepped up their efforts to claim the province. This could well be a war won and lost on the issue of these fees, and Cyril’s hand could be forced as we crawl closer towards Wednesday 8 May.