Advertise with fastmoving.co.za
 
 

Scrap plans for more toll roads, says Cronin
Scrap plans for more toll roads, says Cronin

Scrap plans for more toll roads, says Cronin

SERVICES NEWS

Business Day - Sep 6th 2011, 14:25

Deputy Transport Minister proposes the government scrap future plans to construct toll roads across the country and instead redirect resources into improving public transport. 

This follows the outcry over the expenses connected to the tolling of urban roads in Gauteng province.

Last month, the city of Cape Town declared a dispute with the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) over the tolling of "important" roads in the city.

Mr Cronin, who was addressing the Food and Allied Workers Union congress in his capacity as deputy general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), said the public outcry was a lesson "to make things right".

"Let’s use the crisis and the outcry to demand decent public transport . Let’s stop other tolling we are looking at ... let’s spend the money on public transport," he said.

Mr Cronin’s comments appeared to be at variance with his department’s position as there are plans to expand the freeway project to other parts of the country.

Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele was quoted in May as having told Parliament that the so-called "user pays" principle — which he conceded would be applied only when required — would go a long way towards relieving the state’s R149bn road maintenance shortfall. This apparent contradiction could play into the hands of SACP members who objected to Mr Cronin and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande’s deployment in the government.

The Gauteng Open Road Tolling project was mired in controversy since the toll fees were announced late last year. In recent months, Sanral came under fire for reportedly failing to reveal the total cost of the project and awarding the R4bn tender to a mainly foreign-owned consortium to collect tolls.

The outcry prompted Mr Ndebele and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane to suspend the implementation of the toll fees and have a task team probe alternatives to the high tariffs. Commuter taxis and buses were exempt from the tolls, in terms of the reduced rates approved by the Cabinet last month.

However, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and other civil society groups were pressing ahead with planned protests.

Transport ministry spokesman Logan Maistry refused to comment on Mr Cronin’s comments.

However, Mr Cronin also echoed Mr Ndebele’s recent statement that "freeways are not free", saying eventually someone had to foot the bill. He sought to shift some of the blame towards Gauteng, which Mr Cronin said was the brainchild of the toll project.

Mr Cronin also criticised civil society and political organisations opposed to the implementation of the tolls for not being vocal enough during the consultation process .

"We raised some issues but we did not raise them firmly enough. The protest is correct. This is outrageous. Why did we spend so much money on this thing?" 

Read more about: logistics | economic | services

Related News

Blackstone in $19bn deal to buy US warehouse assets from Singapore’s GLP
04/06/2019 - 10:57
Blackstone Group is buying US industrial warehouse properties from Singapore-based logistics provider GLP for $18.7bn, in what the companies billed as the largest private real estate transaction globally.

Beating the #BlackFriday delivery blues
20/11/2018 - 10:16
The biggest challenge on Black Friday isn’t a system crash or a payment failure. It’s the delivery problems that come after the purchases have been made. This year, courier companies are working closely with e-tailers to ensure that delivery expectations are met – but consumers can also play their part in getting their parcels as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Growing import demand contributes to expanding logistics and warehousing sector
16/11/2018 - 11:05
The inflow of imports, most consumer goods, is contributing to increasing demand for storage, logistics and warehousing services in South Africa, and a clear correlation is visible in the trend of wholesale and retail trade sales in comparison to imports.

The future of logistics depends on four key elements: customer-centricity, sustainability, technology and people
01/10/2018 - 09:32
DHL, the world’s leading international express services provider, showcased the key trends that could impact the logistics industry in the next five to ten years, at an event held in Sandton, Johannesburg on Thursday 20 September.

Customer engagement through gamification
17/08/2018 - 13:55
Gamification provides insurers with an ideal platform to enhance customer engagement. With apps like MEGA MEDS, that turns medicine management into a fun experience, and the likes of the Discovery Insure Driving Challenge, that rewards customers who are good drivers, there is significant potential for insurers and others to take a different approach to dealing with stakeholders.