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National & Provincial
Mar 5 2013 9:54PM
 
E-toll bill slammed
Opposition parties have roundly opposed a law that would give effect to the implementation of the e-tolls in Gauteng. Picture: Sapa
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Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
and Irvine Makuyana


Opposition parties have roundly opposed a law that would give effect to the implementation of the e-tolls in Gauteng.

However, the ANC used its majority in the National Assembly on Tuesday to push through the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill.

The bill was adopted by the House after 193 MPs voted in favour while 98 voted against and two parliamentarians abstained.

Following the bill’s adoption by the national assembly, the draft law was referred to the National Council of Provinces for further debate.

Transport Minister Ben Martins said that e-tolls were necessary to pay for the road infrastructure in Gauteng.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that South Africa’s infrastructure is on par with the best in the world,” Martins said.

“The fundamental question we have to address is how we pay for infrastructure in this country.”

He said if the government failed to repay the loan used to build the road network there would be serious implications for Sanral and the government, including credit rating.

DA MP Ian Ollis said they were opposed to the bill because this was the most expensive was to fund road infrastructure.

“The government has bungled the entire process of developing the e-toll system and left the public feeling ripped off,” Ollis said.

He said the government could use the fuel levy to fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

Cope MP Pakiso Mbhele said they were opposed to the draft legislation.

He said motorists would bear the brunt of e-toll.

IFP chief whip Koos van der Merwe said they also did not want the e-tolling system.

“This plan is a rip-off for the consumers. At the heart of this bill is the e-toll saga. The GFIP has been diametrically opposed by all sectors,” Van der Merwe said.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said e-tolling had received massive resistance from the public.

“We call on the government to hold further consultations.”

He said that different factions in the ANC and its alliance partner Cosatu were competing to benefit from the project.

Freedom Front Plus MP Anton Alberts said this was not the most effective system to raise money to upgrade roads.

“The public will go to war with this government and I am sure you will lose,” he said.

Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) chairperson Wayne Duvenage said the issue of e-tolls had not been finalised.

“The fact that the bill has been passed in Parliament does not mean it will be implemented. It still has to go to the National Council of Provinces for comment,” he said.

Cosatu said the adoption of the bill was an attack on the living standards of workers.

“We are not happy it has been passed so quickly,” Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said.

siyabongam@thenewage.co.za
irvinem@thenewage.co.za

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