Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ANC rethinks e-tolls

DOMINIC MAHLANGU | 26 June, 2012 00:188 Comments DEBATE OUR POLICIES: President Jacob Zuma and his wife, Bongiwe Ngema, at the ANC's Progressive Business Forum banquet at Gallagher Estate in Midrand last night See also pages 4, 9 Picture: MOHAU MOFOKENG In what appears to be a major change in the Gauteng ANC's policy on e-tolling, the ruling party in South Africa's economic powerhouse says consideration should be given to raising the fuel levy as "an interim measure" to pay for improvements to the province's freeways. SAVE & SHARE EMAILPRINT In its attempts to address the mounting debt incurred by the SA National Roads Agency following a court order preventing the implementation of e-tolling at the end of April, the ANC in Gauteng also proposes a "once-off'' contribution from companies making "super profits" in the province. Sanral has incurred a R20-billion debt to improve Gauteng's free ways, with the government paying more than R5-billion to cushion it. According to the Gauteng ANC's discussion paper on public transport and infrastructure, which is to be debated at the ruling party's policy conference at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, this week, Gauteng members also want the government pension fund to be used for infrastructure development. The Gauteng e-tolling project has stalled following a court challenge by civil society organisation Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa). The matter is now before the Constitutional Court. Outa wants an increased fuel levy to be used to fund the freeway improvements in view of Gauteng's position as the continent's economic hub. Last month, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan appealed to the Constitutional Court to set aside an earlier ruling in the Pretoria High Court that stopped Sanral from kick-starting the project. The ANC in Gauteng hopes to push the policy conference for a solution that will minimise harm to its constituency. In its report, the party's provincial executive said the impasse over e-tolling could, if not handled properly, damage the ANC and the government's reputation, both in terms of electoral support and South Africa's international credit rating. Other, longer-term proposals tabled by the provincial ANC include upgrading of alternative roads to tolled routes and a speeding up of the roll-out of public transport projects such as the Bus Rapid Transit system, and the revitalisation of Metrorail. The province's policy proposals come at a time when Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is leading a government task team in an attempt to find a solution to repay the loan that Sanral took to finance the project. The e-tolling debacle is understood to have prompted Zuma to remove Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele and his deputy, Jeremy Cronin, from the portfolio. Sapa reported that Zuma last night said South Africans needed to constructively criticise the ANC's policy discussion documents. Speaking at the ANC's Progressive Business Forum banquet, Zuma said the party would "open itself up" to allow the broader society to understand the party's thinking. "We now publish our documents for people to look at and comment on and discuss and add views ... I haven't seen any other organisation doing this," he said. "It goes a long way to show the confidence the ANC has ... That it believes people have a contribution to make. "We have never deviated from that culture, we say: 'We are here ... What are your views about South Africa'?" Even though the conference might adopt certain resolutions regarding the documents, it would still consider "recommendations" before the policies were finalised at the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung, Zuma said. "Participate in the evolution of the policies that will guide this country," the president added. SUNDAY TIMES Comments by Sonny Oh, how the Dominoes are falling....... The BIG ONE still has to fall before the Mangaung Conference in December 2012..... ANCYL behaviour is 'not acceptable' HLENGIWE NHLABATHI | 25 June, 2012 00:04 Free State premier and provincial ANC chairman Ace Magashule. Image by: SIMPHIWE NKWALI SAVE & SHARE EMAILPRINT President Jacob Zuma on Sunday, lambasted the ANC Youth League, saying its members conducted themselves as if they were a lost generation and their behaviour was not acceptable. His comments followed a boycott of the provincial conference of the ANC by the Free State youth league at the weekend. The league claimed the conference was illegitimate. Zuma said there were vast differences between the league of today and the league as it was in its heyday. The league previously raised issues in a comradely way and did not organise meetings or insult party leaders. "Only those who don't have the ANC in their blood will do so [boycott an ANC conference] . only those who don't understand and believe in the ANC," Zuma told delegates in his closing remarks at the ANC Free State conference. Zuma said that, like the youth of the 1950s, the league of today needed to know what its role was, and that its current leaders could not create new roles for it. "They [the youth of the 1950s] never attempted to shape the ANC outside there ... in slogans and in meetings that you cannot describe," he said. Zuma was referring to a rally on Saturday organised by the "young lions" in Bethlehem. The league boycotted the ANC elective conference in Parys, the home town of the party's provincial chairman, Ace Magashule, claiming it was illegitimate. Zuma offered condolences to the families of those who died in a bus crash returning from "this gathering of some sort". He said "those comrades would have come back and the chair [Magashule] would have engaged and persuaded them, showed them how the ANC leads and lives". "I'm not certain whether the youth of today is anything that inspires. I'm not certain the things some of our youth are doing inspire at all." Zuma said each generation of the young carved out its own niche, adding that the youth of today had a critical duty to defend the democratic gains of the freedom struggle. In an indirect attack on expelled youth league president Julius Malema, Zuma said: "The ANC must discipline everyone equally. Those who think they can bend around the constitution for their own selfish ends must be dealt with." Malema was expelled for fomenting division in the party. Zuma gave the Free State conference his blessing, saying it has been convened constitutionally. He criticised those who differed, saying they had conducted themselves in an "un-ANC" way. He said the provincial ANC leadership had been meticulous in dealing with complaints by individuals and branches, to the extent of postponing the conference three times. Zuma has the backing of Magashule in his bid to be re-elected ANC president in Mangaung. Times Live

1 comment:

  1. ....."According to the Gauteng ANC's discussion paper on public transport and infrastructure, which is to be debated at the ruling party's policy conference at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, this week, Gauteng members also want the government pension fund to be used for infrastructure development".....