The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday warned that the South African National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral) decision to increase e-tolls at the end of February was the “last straw to break consumers’ backs”.
The DA said predictions for the South African economy in 2016 were dire, and people were going to be faced with food and fuel increases as a result of the recent drought and weak Rand.
“Increases in e-tolls, whether in line with inflation or not, will have a severe knock-on effect, further driving up costs,” DA Gauteng provincial leader John Moodey said.
“Gauteng is the engine room of South Africa’s economy, and government must free it from the shackles of e-tolls and give life back to people who are slowly being suffocated.”
The DA said a ring-fenced fuel levy would spare Gauteng’s people the burden of e-tolls, and would by now have settled the costs of the freeway improvement project had government implemented such a measure in 2008.
“During his State of the Nation Address last week President Jacob Zuma announced that government would introduce austerity measures,” said Moodey.
“Just by reducing his bloated cabinet and severely cutting down on corruption and government waste would inject R30-billion into the economy every year – instead our country is facing a recession.”
Moodey said e-tolls were unjust, unfair and a massive burden on Gauteng’s people, and President Zuma and the ANC needed to bring pressure to bear on Sanral and stop the increase from going ahead.
“The DA has declared e-tolls an enemy of the people, and we will use every method to our disposal to remove the burden of e-tolls when we take over the cities of Tshwane and Johannesburg later this year.”
Moodey said the people would “punish the African National Congress” for not listening to their cries, a comment made in reference to the upcoming local government elections.