The chairman for the African National Congress(ANC) in Gauteng province, Paul Mashatile launched an attack on the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), saying that they did not run South Africa. Mashatile was speaking at the launch of the ruling party’s Gauteng provincial conference on Friday in Pretoria.
Mashatile said that he did not believe that his party should close its eyes while its people in the province had problems, adding that as the ANC, he felt that it should be the first to listen to the people. Mashatile went as far as to say that he did not have anything personal against Sanral but he felt that they should know their place. He said that it was government agencies and not the roads agency that ran the country. He was referring to the electronic tolling system that was established in order to ensure that road users paid tolls for using roads in the Gauteng province.
Previously, tolls were being paid by those drivers that travelled on the country’s major freeways that connected different provinces. There has been a huge outcry against the introduction of the etolls. This led to the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura setting up a review panel to examine the economic and social impact of Gauteng’s electronic tolling system and the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project that it was set up to fund. The review panel is supposed to present its findings to Makhura at the end of November. Also speaking at the same event, the ANC and the country’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, advised delegates to the party’s provincial conference that they should not ignore complaints coming from the people, adding that the ANC had distinguished itself as a party that listened to its people in the same way that Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Joe Slovo had listened.
Responding to the statements made by Paul Mashatile, an official in the department of transport, Tiyani Rikhotso said that it was not the place of provincial government to discuss policy formulation since this was done by national government through structures such as Sanral. He went on to explain that the panel that had been set up by premier David Makhura had been meant to examine the economic and social impact of the electronic tolling system and not to change the policy as this could only be done by national government. He, however concluded by saying that his department would continue to engage with various stakeholders including the province of Gauteng in addressing the issue of electronic tolling.