Motlanthe firm on e-tolling

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says the decision to stop the e-tolling was too extreme

Presidency Minister Collins Chabane, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Catherine Rice/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Thursday said government remains convinced that alternative routes and sufficient public transport exist for the e-toll project to go ahead.

Motlanthe revealed that a new bill was being considered to bail out the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

In April, Judge Bill Prinsloo in the North Gauteng High Court halted e-tolling so that a full review can be held.

Government is now petitioning the Constitutional Court to overrule this decision based on its economic implications.

The government was clear on how money was borrowed, roads were built and now the debt must be paid back.

Motlanthe said everything on the Gauteng tolling system was done by the book.

"The auditor general [Terence Nombembe] has found that over the years Sanral has complied with all applicable laws and regulations."

The deputy president said Prinsloo went too far in stopping the e-toll system.

"We are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Constitution Court on the application on the leave to appeal the decision of the North Gauteng High Court."

The bill is expected to help the roads agency for at least six months.

Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it cannot accept claims that the meeting they had with the ANC over e-tolling resulted in mere recommendations.

The union federation said it was the strategic centre of power, not just a mere NGO.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was left furious by comments from the meeting.

"The ANC must no reduce itself as an NGO and that the most important player then becomes government."

He said government's claim that the court ruling on the tolls means it cannot govern is simply false.

"That is just an attempt to blackmail the judges not to make judgments in the best interest of the law."

Vavi said government will have to learn the hard way in the Constitutional Court over the tolling matter.