Pressure from opposition parties has pressed the ANC to withdraw the controversial Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill (the e-toll bill) shortly before its scheduled second reading debate in Parliament today.
After a call by DA Chief Whip, Watty Watson, which was supported by other parties, and a threat from the opposition to stage a walkout during the debate on the e-toll bill, the ANC withdrew the bill this afternoon. This means that the Gauteng e-toll will not be the anticipated lump of coal in Christmas stockings this year.
The committee’s deliberations on the bill will now continue in the new year. The bill can only be considered by Parliament when it opens on 10 February 2013 and will then be sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
The committee agreed to request the NCOP to have public hearings in all provinces which have metro cities where e-tolls could be implemented in future.
This is indeed a victory for opposition parties and the South African public.
The DA has not given up in the fight against e-tolling and still believes that alternative models can be identified to fund the required infrastructure expansion.