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Black Business Council: E-toll costs must be reduced

The BBC says a fuel levy is the most effective way to pay for the road upgrades.

Gauteng advisory e-toll panel chairman Muxe Nkondo speaks at hearings in Midrand, Wednesday, 27 August 2014. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The Black Business Council has told the Gauteng e-toll review panel that the costs of e-tolling must be reduced, or a fuel levy imposed to fund the highways.

The panel, which was appointed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, is listening to input in Midrand from the business sector after receiving submissions from labour organisations on Wednesday.

It will work with national government, municipalities and stakeholders to find a solution regarding the payment of e-tolls.

The public will also be granted an opportunity to make individual submissions during public meetings later this year.

The council's Babalwa Ngonyama has agreed with labour organisations, which are proposing a fuel levy, saying it's the most effective way to pay for the road upgrades as the burden will be shared.

"People want to pay, they don't want freebies. It's just the extent of the cost that is a problem."

Consulting Engineers South Africa is the only organisation so far to tell the panel a fuel levy will simply not work.

It believes the fiscus is already severely stressed and e-tolls are the only way to pay back the money.

TRANSPORT SYSTEM A 'TICKING TIME BOMB'

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Gauteng Secretary Dumisani Dakile on Tuesday said the country's transport system is a ticking time bomb especially with the "chaos" linked to e-tolling.

He said the trade union federation acknowledges that the money used to pay for the roads must be paid back but alternative methods must be found.

Dakile questioned government's refusal to scrap the e-toll system and whether the state is acting in the interest of the poor or investors.

He also said that e-toll gantries pose a health risk, saying although he doesn't have any data to support his argument, the lasers used to scan vehicle number plates are dangerous.

Dakile also said the e-tolling system is one of the most immoral projects signed into law by government next to the arms deal.