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The DA’s private member’s bill (PMB) to ensure that the public is consulted on e-tolls is scheduled to be discussed in Parliament’s transport portfolio committee on Tuesday.

The bill‚ tabled in Parliament on August 18 last year‚ seeks to amend the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads (SANRAL) Act.

The Bill will make provisions for the public‚ provincial legislatures and local councils to be reasonably consulted and afforded an opportunity to give their inputs regarding proposed toll roads. This PMB will also facilitate democratic involvement “by requiring a majority vote in favour of the proposed declaration in the relevant provincial legislature”.

The PMB also proposes the construction and maintenance of alternative roads for those who cannot afford to pay toll fees.

“At the heart of the Bill is the need to prevent another e-tolls fiasco‚ as seen in Gauteng‚ which cost billions of rand and went ahead without any meaningful input from the public and relevant stakeholders‚” DA shadow minister of transport Manny de Freitas said on Sunday.

“The DA is of the belief that the PMB will go a long way in ensuring that‚ in future‚ the decision to establish toll roads will be an open and transparent process‚ and not a closed and autonomous decision taken solely by SANRAL.

“E-tolls in Gauteng is a complete disaster‚ and this is due to the lack of consultation from all stakeholders – which is what the PMB seeks to rectify.

“The DA strongly opposed the ill-conceived e-tolls from the onset‚ which have excluded the poor from opportunities and have become a financial burden on hardworking residents. Through our PMB we will ensure that public infrastructure work to the benefit of our people‚ and not to exclude them‚” De Freitas said.

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