OUTA cheers Joburg mayor's hard line on e-tolls
Cape Town - The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said it is encouraged by Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau's opposition to the tolling of Johannesburg’s urban road infrastructure.
The SABC quoted Tau as saying he did not think it was fitting "to introduce an urban tolling system into an environment that has inadequate public transport".
Speaking at the annual Nedbank/Nepad (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) business foundation conference in Johannesburg, Tau said: "It became clear that e-tolls were being implemented and we said that on the network that is owned by the City of Johannesburg that was identified for e-tolls, we will not consent that municipal roads be used for e-toll purposes."
According to the SABC, Tau said the M1 was supposed to be part of the Gauteng freeway improvement scheme.
In response to this, Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage said: “We believe the mayor’s position is one which supports the notion that social infrastructure ought not to be subjected to a user pays system, least of all one which is as inefficient and costly as the e-toll system introduced by Sanral (the South African National Roads Agency)”.
Duvenage pointed out that Tau's stance is supported by the committee appointed by President Jacob Zuma in 2013 to assess and report back on state-owned entities. "As it turned out, this presidential committee recommended that social infrastructure, including roads, should be funded more so through normal taxation and less so via a user pays mechanism," said Duvenage.
Outa added that urban roads - those used by society to get to work, schools, places of worship and recreation - should be funded from the public’s contribution toward national and local taxes.
“Mayor Parks Tau is justified in his opposition to have his city’s roads subjected to the cumbersome and virtually unworkable tolling process.”
This is all the more relevant against a backdrop of "an almost nonexistent public transport alternative", said Duvenage.