Xolani's Daily Comment

The battle over Etolls is only beginning

+Here's what I think is becoming clear: we should prepare ourselves for a long and nasty political fight over the e-tolls.

I spoke briefly to Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters at the Media Freedom Day Celebrations at the Presidential Guest House yesterday and my sense is that she's ready to fight her corner.

She revealed that SANRAL and the Department of Transport will now make representations to the Gauteng provincial government's e-toll review panel, after initially snubbing the process.

She says she wants her department to make submissions in public just like the political parties and different organizations who recently made theirs. But it's clear she will not be going there to praise the work of the panel but is eager to, as she says, clear the distortions by those opposed to the e-tolls.

The Minister is spoiling for a fight to the end; and the divisions around this issue are getting deeper and deeper within the ANC itself.

The City Press reported that ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has taken another swipe at the party in Gauteng, saying members must choose between being “normal” like other provinces and paying to be the world-class region they aspire to be. Mantashe was responding to the Gauteng ANC’s opposition to the province’s controversial e-tolling system. In an interview with City Press at his office in Luthuli House, Mantashe warned the Gauteng ANC not to use the upcoming national general council (NGC) as a “scarecrow” to threaten the party on issues.

The Gauteng ANC said after its leadership conference two weeks ago that it would lobby the NGC in June next year to scrap the e-tolls. The NGC is a midterm review of ANC activities and policies.

“If you have an issue, you don’t raise it publicly and threaten the ANC. The ANC Youth League tried that during the last NGC, where they threatened that they would not back anyone who did not support their nationalisation position,” said Mantashe.

Mantashe played down the importance of the Gauteng conference decision on e-tolls, saying it was merely a “resolution”, not a recommendation. “It cannot be a resolution if it has not been adopted by the rest of the ANC. The ANC is a unitary organisation, not a federation.”

But on the same issue, the Sunday Independent quoted, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa as saying Gauteng was well within their constitutional powers to adopt positions.

Xolani Gwala on the battle over #Etolls

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