The African National Congress (ANC) might have won the 2014 national election, but there is no doubt that the party has experienced a drastic decline in its election support from the Gauteng province. According to the Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s speculation, one of the main reasons is the recent implementation of e-tolls which caused a controversial debate about the governments accountability to its citizens. The e-toll gantries were officially implemented in Gauteng on December 03 2013 despite several court bids from the public to stop it, mainly through the Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA).
After the 2014 elections, the ANC received a total of 54.92% of votes in Gauteng, down from 64.06% in 2009. Now, the ruling party faces a serious threat from the DA especially because while they have lost Gauteng votes, the DA has increased its base. Gauteng Premier David Makhura has announced that he is setting up a panel to review the impact of e-tolls and its effects on the Gauteng province. According to the Premier, when the election results were announced, they began secret negotiations with the province and the state on the issue of the e-tolls and its effects. It was decided then that this is a topic that needs thorough investigation and a proposal for a better solution to the matter. This is in the hope that by finding a better solution, the ANC might win back the voters it lost in the province. It seems it took the elections to make the ANC aware that people remain totally opposed to the e-tolling system. According to the Premier’s speculations, the implementation of the e-tolling system has affected the Gauteng population and their level of trust in the ANC’s ability to rule and lead in an accountable manner. The repeated occurrence of people turning to social media platforms to vent out their anger and frustration about the system and how it will affect their pockets proves that despite the ruling party’s excuses, the decline in support for ANC in Gauteng was due to the e-tolls being forced on the public and other controversies such as Nkandla. However, with e-tolling now in review, according to the City Press, it is alleged that the national fuel levy will replace e-tolling as a measure to pay back its R20 billion debt to the public infrastructure department. Gauteng’s ANC leader suggested that a national levy was the best possible proposal to the current system. The fuel levy is a nationally raised tax, therefore there is still no relieve for South Africans who are struggling financially, meaning this might ultimately be a PR stunt to bring back ANC supporters. The review of the e-tolls might place many South African’s worries at ease, but with the introduction of the fuel levy people, many might still have to pay more than they are willing and had hoped.
Regardless of recent information the Gauteng premier strongly believes that for ANC to win its Gauteng supporters back, they have to re-consider the e-tolling system. Without question, for the ANC to revive its supporters, they need to work on their sense of public accountability and thoroughly inform the citizenry about changes to happen, so that people can clearly voice out their opinion with a clear understanding of the matter.
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