ANC Gauteng joins war of the gantries
Buoyed by their unopposed re-election, the ANC executive in Gauteng is hoping to take a resolution to Luthuli House and then to the party’s national general council next year to call for a complete review of e-tolling.
The 1 500 ANC delegates at the provincial conference in Irene, south of Pretoria, broke into commissions yesterday, where the issue of e-tolling was expected to top the agenda. The Gauteng government has been at loggerheads with national government ever since its decision to set up a panel to review e-tolling.
Newly elected ANC provincial deputy chair and Premier David Makhura said the party was founded on the principle that it was one that listens to the people. This, he said, was why ANC members were discussing and would take a position on e-tolls.
“The concern is, what will be the impact of e-tolls on our economy? It’s the reason ANC members will be discussing e-tolls. As government, we operate on the same principle on issues affecting our communities. We have to respond,” Makhura said.
He said they would strongly engage Luthuli House on the matter once delegates had reached their conclusions.
A member of Gauteng’s provincial executive committee told City Press on the sidelines of the conference that people have been calling on the ANC in Gauteng to respond to the issue of e-tolling and that they would now do so through a resolution, which he expected to support their view that tolling needs to be reviewed.
Such a resolution, said the provincial executive committee member, would be taken to Luthuli House along with all other resolutions emerging from the conference as the ANC’s official position on the matter.
“People have been saying we must act on e-tolls, we are. This will be the first time that a structure of the ANC has adopted a resolution on e-tolls. That will be the official position of the party from which we will engage on this matter.”
The provincial ANC is also hoping to take the resolution on e-tolls to the national general council next year.
Opening the conference on Friday, provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile said as the ANC, they would not be dictated to by the SA National Roads Agency, and that the recommendations by the review panel would be implemented.
Makhura insisted that as premier, he would take the final report of his review panel to national government and to the municipalities affected by e-tolls to advise them of its recommendations.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has refused to cooperate with the review panel, saying she did not initiate it and that as a province, Gauteng had no power to review national policy.
Her spokesperson, Tiyani Rikhotso, said the tolling of Gauteng freeways to pay off the R20 billion debt incurred as a result of upgrades was a decision undertaken by national government and could not be reviewed by a panel set up by a province. TENACIOUS Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (left) and ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile (right) at the opening of the 12th ANC provincial conference in Tshwane
Meanwhile, the newly elected executive dismissed criticism that their election on an uncontested slate had been prearranged and that having Mashatile remain as chairperson entrenched two centres of power in Gauteng.
When asked why he had declined nomination to stand as chairperson, Makhura said it would be futile for him to stand because the province was united behind the current leadership team.
“I have confidence in the leadership of Paul Mashatile as chairperson of the ANC. He has led this province well. I am the premier of the province, I lead government. I didn’t feel it is necessary for me when I have a capable chairperson in his person to come to a conference and contest. For what? To waste what time? What crucial issue is it about?” asked Makhura.
Other officials include Hope Papo as secretary, Gwen Ramokgopa as deputy secretary and Ntombi Mekgwe as treasurer.
Delegates yesterday elected 30 members of the provincial executive committee.