Fi­nally, a good e-tolls decision

CityPress - - Voices -

Sid­well Tshingi­lane Soweto

Gaut­eng’s uni­lat­eral move – against the wishes of na­tional gov­ern­ment – did not just come from a good heart. It is the out­come of the pres­sure by civil so­ci­ety and an ap­pre­ci­a­tion that the tolls could have, in all like­li­hood, con­trib­uted to the elec­toral losses for the gov­ern­ing ANC in the prov­ince.

But it is a vic­tory for democ­racy be­cause democ­racy says: “The peo­ple shall gov­ern.”

Gaut­eng’s about-turn – even if it is un­prece­dented in our sys­tem of co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance – is one of those few oc­ca­sions in the re­cent his­tory of the ANC when a prov­ince reviews a na­tional pol­icy. So the pres­sure is go­ing to come from the ranks be­low on na­tional gov­ern­ment to scrap or amend the pay­ment method.

My view is that if the e-tolls are scrapped, op­po­si­tion par­ties – es­pe­cially the DA and the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers – will claim vic­tory as they have been mak­ing their voices heard against the sys­tem.

My ques­tion is why the Gaut­eng gov­ern­ment was quiet about e-tolls un­til after the re­sults of the May elec­tions.

And we must also ask why Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma did not at­tend the Gaut­eng provin­cial con­fer­ence. Could it be be­cause of his pub­lic state­ments about “clever blacks” and the con­di­tion of Malawi’s roads?

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