ANC bold anti-toll stance receives backing
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THE ruling African National Congress’ (Gauteng Province),has received commendation for its defiant stance against the controversial electronic tolling.
The province is against the implementation of the project, a stance which differes with that of national government.
The Congress of SA Trades Union (COSATU) and several other union affiliates said such a position was to call for scrapping of the e-tolls was positive.
“The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the decisions taken by the Gauteng Provincial Conference of the African National Congress on e-tolls and fully supports the statement by the re-elected ANC Provincial Chairperson, Comrade Paul Mashatile, that ‘We can unequivocally state that our membership does not support e-tolls in its current form.
“The conference agreed that “the current system is too expensive, traffic flow is negatively affected by urban tolling” and that we would rather have a fuel levy for this administered by the South African Revenue Service’,” said COSATU spokesperson, Patrick Craven.
“This resolution follows the decision by the Gauteng Provincial Government to set up a panel to review the implementation of e-tolls, in response to widespread opposition to the privatisation of our highways, and the bullying and incompetence of the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) in trying to force motorists to pay to travel on roads they have already paid for though their taxes,” added Craven.
Mashatile was quoted as saying, “It’s not that I don’t like Sanral, but they must know their place. Government agencies don’t run the country, the ANC does… Sanral cannot tell us what to do. We tell them what to do.”
COSATU said the federation was confident that the Panel would endorse its own view in that the e-tolling was both wrong in principle – a “commodification” of what should be a basic public service – and a “grossly wasteful and incompetent way of collecting revenue.”
“COSATU also agrees with the view expressed by Provincial Premier, Comrade David Makhura, that ‘the ANC had no policy on e-tolls so there was no need to take the issue to one of its senior decision-making bodies such as next year’s national general council to be reviewed.
“This reinforces COSATU’s view that the ‘user-pay principle’ is not contained in any ANC resolutions and so there was never any political decision to justify e-tolling,” Craven said.
Craven was hopeful therefore that the ANC’s National Executive Committee and government will now listen to the voice of the people of Gauteng and their political leadership in the ANC and scrap e-tolls.
– CAJ News
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