PressStatement on E-tolling and government accountability (SACBC, J&P Department)

Faced with the widespread public concern, protest and unhappiness at the decision of Government to go ahead and implement the e-tolling system, we as the Justice and Peace Department of the SACBC feel compelled to highlight some of the key moral issues underpinning this decision:

  1. The Accountability of the Executive
Government has a mandate to govern, by virtue of having won an election. Does this mean that they are unaccountable until the next election? Clearly not! Transparent public consultations on controversial issues are bound to be held and taken into account. We fear that this has not been adequately done in this case.
  1. Taking due care when utilising funds appropriated from the people of the country
When it appears that the cost of a solution being implemented by Government to address a need is highly inappropriate then it is the duty of all concerned people to demand explanation. Brushing this aside by citing the need for confidentiality breeds suspicion. Transparency is one of the cornerstones of democracy.
  1. The appropriateness of the cost of the GFIP project

It appears that the GFIP project will cost R20.63 billion to construct and a further R20 billion in interest over 24 years, thus totalling R40.66 billion. The e-tolling solution costs around R1.7 billion to construct and a further R1.2 billion per year to implement, totalling R30 billion over the 24 years. So the cost of implementing the e-tolling is almost 74% of the total cost of the project! This hardly seems appropriate!

(Download the whole statement by clicking HERE)
(Download HERE Statement on E-tolling and Government Accountability,
to facilitate discussion in local communities)

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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