The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) Community Constituency has noted that the implementation of Phase 1 of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) was conducted without proper consultation and proposed the scrapping of e-tolls, saying the system was expensive.
Similarly, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) reiterated its stance that the model in its current form is not functioning and has been met with strong opposition by society.
Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has over the past two days met with the constituency and Cosatu representatives on issues related to the GFIP. These meetings formed part of his ongoing consultative process following a mandate by President Cyril Ramaphosa to find a final intergovernmental resolution on GFIP.
The Nedlac Community Constituency comprises the South African Youth Council, Disabled People South Africa, the Women’s National Coalition, the Financial Sector Campaign Coalition, the South African National Apex Cooperative and the South African National Civic Organisation.
Constituency overall convenor Thulani Tshefuta committed to working with the Minister in finding a sustainable solution to the challenges of the GFIP.
Cosatu shared its views on what government needed to do to pay the GFIP debt.
Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali emphasised that government needed to listen and respond to society. He stressed that Cosatu had not changed its position on the scrapping of the e-tolling model as it currently stands.
Responding to the community constituency, Mbalula committed to continued engagement with other civil society organisations and labour unions towards a resolution that all parties could agree on.
He expressed appreciation for the parties’ willingness to continue working with government on the issue.
“Government is committed to finding a resolution on this as mandated by the President. Any resolution we will arrive at must be fair and in the spirit of a listening and caring government. That is why we are engaged on this consultative process with civil society and every one must be consulted so that no one is left behind,” Mbalula said.
The constituency and Cosatu welcomed the opportunity of engaging with the Minister and the idea of further engagements on the subject.