The proposed implementation of excessive tolls on Gauteng Provinces main highways has been suspended by Minister of Transport Sbu Ndebele, until further deliberations have been conducted with relevent stakeholders. This after a mammoth outcry from the irrelevant stakeholders also known as Joe Public.
Later, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane announced that:
South Africans can be best assured that government is doing everything possible to resolve this matter in a manner that will be in the best interests of the commuter, road user and the state for future development and management of our road infrastructure in the country.
The Premier must surely be as proficient a scumbag as the honourable Transport Minister, if she expects the thinking public to actually buy this garbage. Let’s take a few steps back:
An elaborate and sophisticated open tolling system is constructed, not on a new road, but on an existing road that has been upgraded with additional lanes.
National government proceeds to announce a complicated, and outrageously expensive tolling fee structure.
The Gauteng Provincial government pretends to be against the tolling system after protests started gaining momentum, and decides to raise the issue with National government.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Why were existing roads already paid for by the public converted to toll roads, without adequate alternative routes being in place, nor for that matter anything closely resembling public transport infrastructure?
Why were there no prior consultations on the toll fee structure and why were the public not involved in the decision-making process; one that has the potential to ruin many of them financially?
Isn’t it just way too convenient for the Provincial Administration, belonging to the same political party as the national administration, to deny knowledge of the whole scheme, and to act as some sort of messiah, so close to the upcoming local government elections?
No, no, no, Nomvula, I am pretty sure that this whole open tolling system is just another elaborate self-enrichment scam being perpetrated by the ANC-government on the mostly ignorant public. The best interests of the commuter and road user was never considered, because this whole situation would not have developed to where it is now, if consideration for the public was the first priority.
Admit it, self-enrichment was the first and only consideration in this whole ghastly scam.
I’m pretty sure that not even the ANC knew how useful the potholes they hadn’t attended to all these years, were going to become so soon after President Zuma announced that 2011 was to be the year of Job Creation…and the Chinese announced the Year of the Rabbit.
With images in my mind of ANC politicians making a routine habit of feeding at the trough, it’s perhaps lucky for us that this is not the Year of the Pig; although you’re going to be hopping mad by the time you have finished reading the rest of what troubles me.
In January the ANC-led government announced that they were going to spend around R150-million rands to fix potholes. Today they announced that the Transport Ministry was setting aside R6.4-billion in this fiscal year for an “innovative nationwide programme focusing on the maintenance of secondary road infrastructure using labour-intensive methods of construction and maintenance.” So what happened to swell the budget that much?
Did our ANC-government’s tenders-for-pals allocation scheme come in 42 times over-subscribed? Or are we expected to believe that it has now become the job of government to provide jobs?
Consider that just prior to the vacuous State of the Nation address by the President, it was also revealed, not surprisingly, that R58-billion would be required to fix poorly built houses that no doubt were constructed through the awarding of dubious tenders, and you get the sinking feeling that more of our tax money is heading for a black hole. Only this time it’s going to be many, many smaller holes that will hungrily gobble up your taxes, disappear for a while, and then reappear again begging for more.
There’s no doubt that our roads are in a really wretched condition. Going practically anywhere by road feels like participating in a slalom race; for those who care about their vehicles, or who don’t own fancy 4 x 4’s.
So while I should be welcoming the commitment by government to spend R150-million to fix potholes, I have this nagging feeling that something is amiss, given their appalling track record in spending taxpayers money judiciously; even this modest sum.
There’s the bothersome issue about tenders for pals and competence. We’re all too aware of how unduly susceptible our government is, about handing out tenders to their friends and family, but even more disturbing is that these beneficiaries invariably produce shoddy work, which goes unchecked because of governments infamous maladministration practices.
While we’re all familiar with government sinking obscene amounts of money down a big black hole; this pothole project may just turn out to be a case of sinking a large sum of money down thousands of smaller holes.
With all the heavy rains we’ve been getting recently, and this repair project only scheduled to kick off in March of this year, let’s hope that they still have potholes to repair rather than entire roads.