'E-tolls is a huge financial constraint'

While Sanral has rejected calls to participate, more companies have made submissions to the review panel.

FILE. While Sanral has rejected calls to participate, more companies have made submissions to the e-toll review panel. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former African National Congress (ANC) politician Redge Nkosi says the party's officials of today are only looking out for themselves and expect South Africans to carry the burden for their bad decisions.

Nkosi was employed by the Department of Finance during the time former President Nelson Mandela was the leader of the ANC.

He has presented his submissions to an advisory panel in Midrand, which is assessing the socio-economic impact of e-tolling.

The review panel was set up by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

Nkosi is now the owner of Firstsource Holdings, a transport and logistics company.

He has told the panel that the e-tolling system is a huge financial constraint for both business and the individual.

Nkosi says government should be focusing on uplifting South Africans economically, but is instead placing citizens in debt simply to cover up for their own misguided decisions.

"It can't be correct that we, as citizens of this province, should be saddled with debt by the very people who are supposed to help us improve our living standards, for reasons that are not economic."

He says South Africans pay tax and government should return this favour by providing for its people.

At the same time, the advisory panel has advised that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and the Department of Transport practice transparency, instead of declining to participate in its proceedings.

Sanral has been asked to comment on the controversial multi billion rand project but earlier this week spokesman Vusi Mona said they would not be making any representations.

Chair of the advisory panel, Muxe Nkondo, says he finds it unfortunate that Sanral has declined to participate in proceedings.

"If they don't, it will be a rich opportunity missed."

Sanral says all documents regarding the entire process around the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project are publicly available, should the panel wish to pursue them.

But Nkondo says transparency is key.

"Sanral has a great opportunity of telling the public exactly where it stands on these issues. It's for its own good this way, to be transparent."

The panel says it's still negotiating with the agency, in a bid to change its mind about weighing in.