‘Embrace yourselves for fuel hike if e-tolls are scrapped’- warns Mantashe

Johannesburg – Earlier this week Transport minister Fikile Mbalula stole the hearts of many when he announced that the government has decided to scrap e-tolls in Gauteng.

However, the jovial mood has now turned into a bitter one, after Energy minister Gwede Mantashe’s came out with guns blazing to say that motorists must embrace themselves for a petrol price hike.

Last Friday, Mbalula said the government has taken a decission to cancel e-tolls, as the middle-class is highly affected by paying e-tolls, and the system being plagued with financial implications.

“Government has considered the matter of scrapping e-tolls, as our people were not able to pay the e-tolls,” said Mbalula.

Mantashe who joined President Cyril Ramaphosa on a state visit to Nigeria for the Bi-National Commission forum between South Africa and Nigeria said the scrapping of e-tolls will hit hard on consumers.

“He [Mbalula] talks of scrapping the e-tolls, I can tell you, he will go for petrol levies,” said Mantashe on the sidelines of the ongoing bilateral talks.

“There’s nothing we can do unless we change the formula … it goes up, it goes down,” he said.

Mantashe’s sentiments come just in space of hard times as the country is facing a fuel hike, after the government imposed an increase in fuel prices, with motorists paying 75c for a litre of petrol.

E-tolling came to effect in 2011, as part of Gauteng government’s project pipeline to fund the R17.9 billion Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.

However, this has become a failed government project plagued with obstacles as a matter of low compliance and large-scale civil disobedience.

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Sunday World

Thomas Lethoba

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