E-tolls dilemma for rul­ing party

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE -

There’s an old and ac­cu­rate say­ing that cap­i­tal­ism is the ex­ploita­tion of man by man … and that com­mu­nism is the ex­act op­po­site. That apho­rism could have been brought to the at­ten­tion this week of Min­is­ter of Trans­port Blade Nz­i­mande, a mem­ber of the SA Com­mu­nist Party. In de­fend­ing the con­tin­u­a­tion of e-tolls, Nz­i­mande was singing a very cap­i­tal­ist tune, given that the whole project of toll col­lec­tion will di­rectly ben­e­fit a cap­i­tal­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion from Europe.

The peo­ple of Gaut­eng seem to be less im­por­tant – as they have been from the be­gin­ning of the e-toll fi­asco – than keep­ing those Euro­peans happy, as well as pla­cat­ing the “in­ter­na­tional agen­cies” which threaten to clas­sify South Africa as a bad risk be­cause the SA Na­tional Roads Agency can’t pay back what it owes on the toll roads due to mas­sive civic re­fusal.

The is­sue is the hot but­ton for next year’s elec­tion and the irony is that the ANC’s Gaut­eng or­gan­i­sa­tion and their mor­tal po­lit­i­cal en­emy, the Demo­cratic Al­lian­hce, are both say­ing the same thing: e-tolls must go. The ANC gov­ern­ment faces a dilemma. If it scraps the sys­tem, it will avoid de­feat at the polls. But, in do­ing that, it will have con­ceded that large-scale pub­lic protest and de­fi­ance do work.

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