Scrap e-tolls, buy in electricity: DA wish list for Gauteng's David Makhura

24 February 2020 - 15:55 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
DA Gauteng legislature caucus leader Solly Msimanga said the DA would like to hear the Gauteng premier announce the deregulation of additional sources of energy, and the scrapping of e-tolls, but added that tolls are likely here to stay.
DA Gauteng legislature caucus leader Solly Msimanga said the DA would like to hear the Gauteng premier announce the deregulation of additional sources of energy, and the scrapping of e-tolls, but added that tolls are likely here to stay.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

Economic stimuli including deregulation and securing of additional sources of energy to mitigate the affect of load-shedding are on the DA's wish list for Tuesday's state of the province address (Sopa) by Gauteng premier David Makhura.

DA Gauteng legislature caucus leader Solly Msimanga called on Makhura to announce plans by the provincial government to allow independent power producers space to compete with Eskom for security of power supply in SA's economic heartland.

“Eskom right now is making us lose jobs. Companies are closing  because they say they cannot keep people who are not doing anything for eight hours because of load-shedding.

“Eskom can continue being a producer, but we are saying allow private producers. The more producers competing, the more prices will come down because you will have a choice of who to procure from,” said the former mayor of Tshwane.

“The introduction of private producers will push Eskom to get their act together.” 

Msimanga called on Makhura to implement real economic reforms, such as the establishment of special economic zones, deregulation to allow new entrants into the economy and programmes that result in full-time jobs — not “work opportunities”.

The e-toll saga must be put to bed this year, said the opposition party.

“The people of Gauteng deserve to be free of this unjust system of taxation that was foisted upon them,” said Msimanga.

However, he felt there was little hope that Makhura would announce anything groundbreaking on the long-standing e-toll impasse.

“We have proposed solutions on the payment of e-tolls but I can guarantee you e-tolls are not going anywhere. (Finance) minister Tito Mboweni has indicated a number of times that he is going  to dig in on the issue of e-tolls,” said Msimanga.

“What the premier has been doing all this time is just kicking the ball around and hoping the people of Gauteng will forget and end up paying. But the people of Gauteng are very adamant we are paying enough.”

Msimanga said Gauteng motorists and others across the country were already paying for maintenance of road infrastructure through the fuel levy. This money, he said, should be used to finance the e-tolls.

Other priority issues the DA would like to see addressed in the Sopa include:

  • Criminal prosecutions of public servants stealing taxpayers' money;
  • The establishment of a provincial police ombudsman to strengthen crime fighting along with the establishment of specialised units to effectively combat crime;
  • The mass rollout of broadband and wi-fi throughout the province;
  • Fixing an ailing health department that bleeds public funds due to negligence while killing businesses by not paying them on time; and
  • Fast-tracking human settlement projects to ensure people have dignified accommodation.

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