by Sapa

For whom the roads e-toll

Public outburst over process

Gauteng motorists' biggest gripe is that they were not consulted at the beginning of the e-tolling process.

Public meetings on Gauteng's e-tolls indicated the public was against the system, the Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said last week.

"Despite efforts by the department of transport to focus on discussing the proposed tariffs and exemptions at meetings, many expressed sheer anger at the lack of initial consultation," Outa said in a statement.

Last month, the government and the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) announced new tariffs for e-tolling the freeways.

The announcement, made last month, marked the beginning of a 30-day public consultation process, after which the Minister of Transport, Ben Martins, would have a fortnight to apply his mind, followed by another fortnight to gazette the tariffs. 

The government should initially have been more open and accommodating in seeking public and business opinion, Outa said.

"Government should not be surprised by the uproar and backlash they are receiving from the public, who find it illogical to discuss tariffs they do not have confidence or support for in the first place," the organisation said.

There was a growing chorus and call by the public to simply not participate in e-tolls.

"We have been saying that the lack of public participation in this irrational scheme will ultimately become Sanral's biggest hurdle and will make the system unworkable," Outa said.

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