Newly appointed Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi has vowed to lend an ear to cries for the Gauteng e-tolls to be scrapped.
Addressing the media for the first time since he was sworn in on Friday in Pretoria, Maswanganyi said this week that he would be meeting with as many stakeholders as possible and would hear them out about the issue.
“We are not closing our ears, we are servants of our people,” he said about the longstanding e-tolls debacle.
Maswanganyi also said he would not be withdrawing any court challenge instituted by his predecessor and would instead wait for the court processes to conclude.
Flanked by the department’s acting director-general Mathabatha Mokonyane and Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, Maswanganyi said he would not withdraw the court challenge by his predecessor Dipuo Peters against the reinstatement of the former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board.
“I am not going to drop any charges or add any charges,” he said.
Maswanganyi mentioned the multimillion-rand Moloto corridor project as one of developments that would be closely monitored as a cooperation agreement had already been signed with China.
“On road infrastructure, the South African National Roads Agency is continuing with the planning phase of the R4.5 billion project to upgrade the Moloto road. The Moloto road is under construction with the purpose of ensuring the safety of road users and also bring to an end the accidents that claim many lives.”
Chikunga said the two-phase project was already underway and the second phase, which will include the rail infrastructure, would be made up of collaborative technical teams that included the Chinese.
Ben Theron, Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) portfolio director of transport, said they have not had time to engage about the new minister yet but were definitely outraged about the sacking of former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.