E-toll economist open to public debate with Outa
Outa has called for a debate in a bid to challenge Roelof Botha’s economic reasoning behind e-tolling.
JOHANNESBURG - South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) consultant Roelof Botha says he's open to a public debate with the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) to defend his statement that the tolling of Gauteng's highways are significantly benefitting the poor.
Outa has called for a debate in a bid to challenge Botha's economic reasoning behind e-tolling.
Botha drew fierce criticism from those attending the e-tolls review panel hearing yesterday when he said those who use public transport should "shut up" about e-tolling, a statement that he's since retracted.
He said he is adamant that e-tolls are the best way to fund Gauteng's roads.
"I would love to debate the issue of whether e-tolls is pro-poor compared to the funding alternative of a fuel price increase because all the facts are on my side."
Yesterday, Sanral had its last opportunity to convince the e-tolls assessment panel that the system is the only solution despite widespread public outcry.
The panel was established by Gauteng Premier David Makhura to assess the economic and social impact of e-tolls on motorists in the province.
Botha carefully explained the model to the panel.
"If you're in the bottom income quintile and are using public transport then you shouldn't be participating in this debate because it doesn't affect you. You should shut up."
But Outa's Wayne Duvenage said this argument is absurd.
"People who aren't participating have every right to give input on policies in this country. The roads are almost as congested as they were in 2007 before the construction began."
The panel now has to analyze all the information it has received and submit its final report to Makhura by the end of the month.
The controversial e-tolling system went live on 3 December after months of legal wranglings, protests and calls for civil disobedience.