Sun Dec 04 14:17:30 CAT 2016

Alli is the fall guy in e-tolling imbroglio facing ruling party

The Times Editorial | 2012-05-09 00:27:58.0

The Times Editorial: South African media was dominated by one story yesterday - the resignation of Nazir Alli, South African National Roads Agency Limited CEO.

Clearly Alli has had enough of being made the target of many South Africans' ire over the past few months as the implementation of the e-tolling system drew closer.

The system was postponed after an urgent court interdict.

But is Alli really the key player in the e-tolling mess, or is he merely the scapegoat for a political decision that horribly backfired on the ANC government?

Alli and the roads agency board did not act unilaterally when the plans to develop Gauteng's freeways were unveiled.

The transport department, along with the parliamentary portfolio committee for transport, did not only know what the agency was planning, but actively approved the development and its accompanying funding model.

That Alli, along with Treasury officials, sat in the Pretoria High Court to oppose the court action by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance - to stop the launch of the system so a full court review could be carried out to decide if it should be scrapped or not - while the ANC and Cosatu made a private postponement deal, says much about government's attitude throughout this whole saga.

Both Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele and his deputy, Jeremy Cronin, clearly decided some time ago that the tolling debacle was not an issue they wanted to be associated with, even though they are the political principals in the matter.

They have consistently left Alli to face the wrath of South Africa's citizens until now - when he decided to walk away from an organisation that he has led for more than a decade.

By all accounts a solid bureaucrat, it seems rather shoddy that Alli should ultimately pay heavily for what was a government-endorsed decision.

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