Ian Ollis, shadow minister of transport and Democratic Alliance (DA) member of parliament (MP), will write to president Jacob Zuma, urging him to investigate alternatives to e-tolling in the wake of new evidence against the project.
Ollis said Ben Martins, minister of transport, revealed the government did not consider the fuel levy in 2008 as a means to fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) in response to a recent parliamentary question posted by the DA.
Martins response also revealed discussions had taken place between S’bu Ndebele, a former minister of transport, and the National Treasury in 2010 on “ring fencing” for road maintenance through the Road Maintenance Fund, but had not been finalised or completed.
“Read together, these replies reveal that the government did not explore all options in finding alternative funding for the GFIP and therefore could not possibly have opted for e-tolling on the basis of careful and in-depth consideration,” said Ollis.
Ollis added: “Given this latest revelation, I will write to president Zuma and appeal to him not to sign the e-tolling bill into law. Furthermore, I will request that he establish a full scale investigation into what alternatives exist to the e-tolling model before the e-tolling programme is implemented and enforced.”
According to Ollis, this latest evidence is similar to findings, which were made in the Presidential Review on state owned enterprises (SOEs), released on Tuesday.
“The Department of Transport (DoT) and the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s (SANRAL) argument in favour of e-tolling is fast unravelling. It is being shown-up for what it really is: an ill-thought out plan, with little or no public consultation, to place the burden of years of bad planning on poor South Africans in Gauteng,” said Ollis.
He added: “It also begs the question: Why is the government so adamant on pursuing this programme when there was little attempt to find an alternative? Who is really going to benefit from e-tolling?”
Ollis said until these questions are answered and a full investigation into alternatives has been launched, e-tolling must not commence.