30 June 2014

South Africa: Makhura and E-Tolls - the Audacity of Hope


What can Gauteng Premier David Makhura do that former Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and a host of other Cabinet members were not able to do to reverse the e-toll system? That is the R20 billion question in the wake of Makhura's bombshell announcement last week that he is instituting a review of the impact of e-tolls. Is it really possible that e-tolling could be scrapped in Gauteng or is this a grand political gesture to pacify anger and do damage control around the e-tolls nightmare?

The great irony of Gauteng Premier David Makhura announcing that he is setting up a panel to review the impact of e-tolls is that the idea of developing the province's roads and funding it through a user-pay system initially came from the Gauteng government. In 1999 the provincial government took a decision to upgrade Gauteng's road network but did not have the funds to do so. It also did not have the powers to toll the roads as it is a national competence.

The province approached the national government three times with the proposal to develop the roads before Cabinet agreed to undertake the upgrade. The Gauteng...

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