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'E-tolls toxic to small business'

Busa says a fuel levy is the best alternative method to fund roads and can enforce accountability.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Business Unity South Africa (Busa) says e-tolls are "toxic" to small business growth and proposes a minimal national fuel levy which will be strictly used for road upgrades and maintenance.

The e-toll review panel, which was appointed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, has wrapped up its first week of consultations.

The panel has heard input from business and labour over the past three days with only one affected party so far in full support of the multi-billion rand project.

Busa's Kgatlaki Ngoasheng has told the review panel that a fuel levy is the best alternative method to fund roads and can enforce accountability.

"The e-tolling system is toxic to small business growth. Delivery trucks have to use back roads which are poorly maintained. In our view, it contradicts the growth ambitions of the National Development Plan."

Earlier this week, the Congress of South African Trade Unions called the e-tolling system the most immoral system next to the arms deal.

Consulting Engineers South Africa is the only affected party motivating for e-tolls to be retained.

Next week, civil society organisations will have the opportunity to make submissions.

The controversial e-tolling system went live on 3 December after months of legal wranglings, protests and calls for civil disobedience.