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Mboweni: E-tolls are here to stay, pay your bills

Tito Mboweni announced that government had decided to retain the user pay principle remains with regards to e-tolls

An e-toll gantry. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has announced that the e-tolls system will remain in their current form.

When delivering his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament on Wednesday, Mboweni said the decision was taken after consultation with key players in the transport sector.

He also promised that government would strengthen efforts to enforce compliance from motorists who have for years refused to pay for the contentious system.

“Government has decided to retain the user pay principle. While there will be a further dispensation and value‐added services, compliance will also be strengthened.

“Not paying your tolls has already led to our roads deteriorating. We have been unable to maintain the network. I urge the nation to please pay your bills.

“We need to build a culture of payment, as government services can only be sustainable if all of us that can pay for services, do so,” said Mboweni.

*Mboweni: Public sector wage bill must be slashed

**BACK TO THE BEGINNING **

It all started in February 2013 with Cosatu's drive-slow campaign ahead of the implementation of the system in December 2013.

The tripartite alliance partner continued with its civil disobedience campaign up until e-tolls were implemented - even setting bills on fire right in front of Sanral's offices in Pretoria.

In June 2014 Gauteng Premier David Makhura - who was also the part of the ANC leadership in the province - made a surprising turn.

He announced in his state of the province address that a review panel would be set up to look at the feasibility of the model.

But a month later former Transport Minister Dipuo Peters admitted that there were billing issues - and told Eyewitness News no motorist would be prosecuted until the matter was resolved.

Outa's Wayne Duvenage started raising funds for legal battles anyway - appealing to the public for urgent funding.
Former Sanral CEO Nazir Alli accused Outa of creating lawlessnes by encouraging motorists not to pay their e-toll bills.

In 2016 e-tolls continued to dominate discussion – contributing to the ANC’s loss of support in the province.

Opposition parties also weighed into the debate – with the EFF demanding that the system be scrapped.

And the DA made alternative proposals, including a fuel levy.

But the ANC will have the final say.

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