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10 Oct 2013 14:15
Cabinet says it is sure people will be good citizens and buy e-tags. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
President Jacob Zuma's executive has called on the people of Gauteng to abide by the law and show good citizenship by registering for e-tags and paying for use of the world class roads.
Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams told journalists on Thursday morning that ministers welcomed Zuma's signing of the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill into law as well as the Supreme Court of Appeal's dismissal of an appeal by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) in its e-toll challenge against the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).
Williams said the Cabinet believed these developments would allow the people of Gauteng and South Africans in general to focus on the benefits "we have already gained and still stand to gain from improvements to the freeways in the economic hub of South and Southern Africa".
Zuma's signing of the Bill into law two weeks ago saw a groundswell of opposition and calls for civil disobedience from political parties, trade unions and civil society groups, who have been calling on motorists not to buy the e-tags.
Asked repeatedly by journalists whether the government had any emergency plans to deal with such a scenario, Williams responded by saying that the government had faith the public would abide by the law.
"What we are saying is that as South Africans, we have come a long way in making South Africa a better place. And I think South Africans have a history of being law-abiding citizens," she said.
Williams said the government had done all it could to make sure that there were proper consultations with South Africans from the time when the e-toll project started.
"We are of the view that we have got South Africans who are law-abiding citizens and we are at this point not in a panic that people are going to be rebelling."
Williams said according to Sanral, there was an increase in the numbers of people who have been tagged, which shows a lot of people would not be protesting.
She said there are around 608 000 motorists who have already been tagged, which she said was not a small figure.
"We have a very big number of those that are already tagged, that are ready for the implementation and that they are going to be co-operating."
Williams said the e-tolling system was one aspect of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project that has enhanced the movement of people and goods and will make the provincial and national economy more efficient into the future.
She said the e-toll tariffs were reduced in response to public comment; poor passengers were seen to through the exemption of public transport operators from paying toll fees; a monthly payment cap has been introduced and a rebate system exists for transport companies.
"Cabinet calls on users of Gauteng's freeways to abide by the law, demonstrate good citizenship and make their contribution to a better South Africa by registering for e-tags and paying for use of these world-class roads."
The transport department published the e-toll tariffs on Wednesday in the Government Gazette and Transport Minister Dipuo Peters is expected to announce the date on which e-tolling will come into effect.
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