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EFF slams ANC fake victory over e-tolls



Both the EFF and the Democratic Alliance concurred that the e-toll debt imposed on motorists should be erased completely.

Political parties including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have reacted to the scrapping of e-tolls, calling this decision a “fake victory” by the ruling party which is “nothing short of absurd”.

After a decade of the insufferable beeping on highways, Gauteng road users will be freed from the burden of paying e-tolls from Thursday midnight.

While many are ecstatic about not having to pay e-tolls anymore, political parties are saying the African National Congress (ANC) should not celebrate this as a milestone when they are the ones who introduced the e-toll problem in the first place.

Furthermore, the parties asserted that the National Department of Transport and South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (Sanral) should also write off e-toll debt.

ALSO READ: E-tolls scrapped, but gantries will remain operational – Chikunga

‘Self-respecting residents must resist outstanding e-toll debt’ – EFF

In a statement on Wednesday, the EFF welcomed the cancellation of e-tolls. However, the red-barrettes party shared anger on the ANC’s “fake victory”.

“The fake victory being claimed by the ANC is nothing short of absurd and must be vehemently rejected. It is ludicrous to celebrate the abolition of a burden on motorists that they themselves introduced,” said the party.

Despite the EFF not naming anyone, many thought this was a jab at Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi.

Lesufi told the media that he was excited to share that after the “intense, difficult and painful negotiations” e-toll paying would be history on Thursday.

“We are further excited that the resolution on e-tolls brings to an end a history that we didn’t want to carry,” he said

Both the EFF and the Democratic Alliance concurred that the e-toll debt imposed on motorists should be erased completely.

The EFF said Sanral’s statement that owing residents should settle their debts is “pure nonsense that must be resisted by all self-respecting residents of Gauteng”.

“The EFF demand that all e-toll debt be immediately scrapped, including for motorists who have received intimidating letters of demand and invoices to pay these nonsensical tolls, even after the abolishment of e-tolls,” the party added.

READ MORE: ‘No chance of collecting, which Sanral knows’ – Outa

Furthermore, the DA asserted that it was “unnecessary” to go after e-toll debt when the Gauteng and national government agreed to repay all e-toll debt and maintenance arrears.

DA MP Fred Nel said it is unfair for Gauteng residents to be put under so much debt burden considering the tough economic times they face. Nel further questioned where the outstanding e-toll money would go.

“The question must also be asked, who will own the e-toll debtors book if the debts are not written off? It would not be right to give it to Sanral after its debts are settled by the national and provincial governments,” he added.

E-tolls ‘water under the bridge’, but debt remains

On Wednesday, Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga officially confirmed that Gauteng motorists will no longer be obligated to pay e-tolls.

The e-toll system which has been a source of controversy and frustration was introduced in 2013. This system required individuals traveling on specific highways in the province to pay toll fees, leading to widespread discontent and resistance.

While Chikunga acknowledged this outrage and the government’s incompetency in engaging with the public about the matter, she said it was all “water under the bridge”.

NOW READ: ‘No refunds’ says Lesufi – Motorists must pay outstanding e-tolls debts

A government gazette was issued on 28 March to disband the electronic tolling gantries.

This decision was subsequent to drawn out conversations between National Treasury, Gauteng government and the Department of Transport over a funding impasse once e-tolls were officially switched-off.

The three parties agreed that Treasury will pay 70% of the R47 billion debts, with the Gauteng government to pay the remaining 30%.

After 14 days as stated in the gazette, the minister finally announced the scrapping of e-tolls.

ALSO READ: Government listened to public over e-tolls – Chikunga

“After midnight tomorrow [Thursday], e-tolls will no longer exist. However, the ring roads that formed part of this scheme will remain national roads,” she said on Wednesday.

“We hope that the withdrawal of e-tolls will give Gauteng motorists and South Africans in general certainty after a long period of uncertainty.”

Satawu on e-tolls

The deputy secretary-general of the South African National Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) Anele Kiet said the scrapping of e-tolls is a victory for both Gauteng motorists and South Africans.

Kiet further assured the public that e-toll employees would not lose their jobs due to the scrapping off of e-tolls.

“At this point there is no threat – we have not gotten any information that there will be retrenchment, so as a union we are happy,” he added.

Moreover, Kiet said the way the e-tolls journey turned out is a reflection of how “things will fall apart” when government does not consult properly.

MORE TO READ: E-toll debt collection from motorists still on the agenda

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