The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it is willing to help government resolve the e-tolls impasse following a social media spat between Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Gauteng Premier David Makhura over the province's decision to reject e-tolls.
Outa said government could have used the fuel levy to fund the swelling Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) debt as proposed years ago.
"Early in the e-toll saga, Outa suggested that the bonds for the GFIP should be funded in the same way that Sanral funds over 18 000 kilometers of its non-tolled network, through allocations from Treasury and if needed, via a ring-fenced fuel levy increase of 10c per liter at the time of launch. Had this been done at that time, the capital value of the project would have already been raised. However, Government’s determination to legitimise a grossly ineffective and irrational scheme has resulted in billions of rand in debt for Sanral," the organisation said in a statement.
Mboweni took to Twitter on Friday and lambasted Makhura for his stance against e-tolls. Makhura had tweeted "I have referred the e-tolls matter to President Cyril Ramaphosa for final resolution. My engagements with him and Minister Fikile Mbalula have been positive. Minister Tito Mboweni can continue to tweet as he cooks... he is a Minister, not the President. #NoTurningBack."
Mboweni hit back, saying e-tolls were not a working class issue as they had public transport to utilise.
"I am certain that the Premier of Gauteng knows that you have to be careful before you pick up a fight with a National Minister of Finance. The one who controls allocations! I would be careful if I were him. User/consumer pays!"
Other Twitter users supported Makhura, insisting that e-tolls should go and that no one will comply and pay. Ekurhuleni metro mayor Mzwandile Masina chipped in, reporting Mboweni to the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) where "we will teach him about the ANC."
Ramaphosa rebuked the Mboweni and Makhura's twar, and instructed the minister and the premier to come up with a resolution for e-tolls and table it before cabinet by end by August.