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Outa: E-toll review panel legit

Outa says the review panel seems to have everything in place to take a considered decision over e-tolls.

FILE. Outa's Wayne Duvenage says the review panel seems to have everything in place to take a considered decision over e-tolls. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) says it believes a review panel of the controversial e-tolling system is legitimate and could ultimately lead to the controversial project being scrapped.

Outa has campaigned for the government to do away with e-tolling and instead introduce a fuel levy to pay back upgrades to Gauteng's freeways.

Newly installed Gauteng Premier David Makhura has set up a panel to review the system, which is currently holding public hearings in Johannesburg.

Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage says the panel seems to have everything in place to take a considered decision.

"It's a panel not short of the intellect that is required to assess this. They're taking a lot of time as they go through this much further than the previous two talk shop reviews in 2012 and 2011. I think they've got the benefit of hindsight since the system has been switched on."

Meanwhile, Outa has told the Gauteng e-tolls review panel the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral)'s consultation process was 'poor and inadequate'.

The organisation is now presenting its case to the panel of experts in Midrand.

Outa says Sanral never properly consulted the public before going ahead with e-tolls, claiming the public was never informed how much the entire initiative would cost.

Outa's Adrian d'Oliviera says, "It's clear from the evidence that Sanral had no intention and the minister didn't consider any alternative mechanisms. It was always going to be a toll project."

Outa says the user pay system is not working and has proposed that a fuel levy would be far less expensive.

"Why was there a lack of transparency and engagement? The public engagement was dismal; one advert in six newspapers with 28 to 30 responses, how can that be regarded as meaningful? We have encountered a lot of misleading information from Sanral."