THE ANC in Gauteng is in over drive to lure back voters ahead of the 2019 elections and it has started by deciding to scrap the controversial e-tolls system.
This was the decision taken during the two-day provincial elective conference which we held at the St George’s Hotel in Irene where David Makhura was elected as chairperson.
The system was introduced in Gauteng highways in 2013 and has been widely rejected by motorists in the province who have called for them to be scrapped. Motorists said they were not consulted before the e-tolls were introduced and majority of them has simply refused to buy the tags or even pay their bills.
“The conference agreed that e-tolls must go. The conference received and welcomed the report on the e-tolls and called on provincial government to expedite its negotiations with national government to find a permanent solution to this saga,” said Jacob Khawe, the new provincial secretary.
The decision follows Premier David Makhura’s admission from earlier in the year to say the system had flopped and alternatives were requires.
Makhura conceded in his state of the province address back in February that the e-toll system was simply not working, and that he would approach Ramaphosa to discuss solutions.
“We all know that the e-tolls have added to the cost of living for many motorists and public transport users in Gauteng. The new dawn (leadership change) must also bring a solution to the protracted and unresolved problem of e-tolls,” Makhura said at the time.
This comes as defaulters were warned of the danger of losing their licences should the demerit system of an amended road act come into effect.
The DA and civil lobby group Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse were left fuming following a public hearing in Mamelodi in Tshwane in April, where it emerged that motorists could be punished with suspension of their licences when amendments to the Administrative Adjunction of Road Traffic Offences Act are enacted.
The draft Aarto Bill was passed by the National Assembly in September 2017 and is with the National Council of Provinces.
Another selling point was the land issue. As Parliament is busy with consultations for the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation, the party structure in the province said it would proceed with rapid land release.
“Conference has decided to proceed with Rapid Land Release with immediate effect. We shall not wait for the parliamentary constitutional review process,” said Khawe.
Makhura added that they will start the process with or without proposed changes to the Constitution. In May, the Gauteng government appointed a team to develop a plan for rapid land release.
“This conference has given us the mandate to forge ahead with Rapid Land Release. We shall not wait for the parliamentary constitutional review process. We shall return the land and that includes government land to those who want land. We are determined to do so without hesitation,” he said.