No news of etolls presented by Finance Minister in Budget Speech 2024

  • Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana presented a somber budget speech on Wednesday with new estimates for gross domestic product growth being lower than previously anticipated.
  • Despite promises from Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, the budget speech contained no mention of plans to scrap etolls.
  • While it’s possible the topic was cut from the speech in favour of another, it’s not a good look for Lesufi who has a habit of making promises that don’t materialise.

On Wednesday, Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana presented the nation’s budget plan for 2024. Amid a brutal economy, rampant unemployment and persistent power cuts brought about by years of maladministration and corruption, the budget speech feels like the country is living from pay cheque to pay cheque.

The minister reports that estimates for gross domestic product growth in 2023 have been adjusted from 0.8 percent to 0.6 percent.

“The revision is due to weaker-than-expected outcomes in the third quarter of 2023, particularly in household consumption and fixed investment. Between 2024 and 2026, growth is projected to average 1.6 percent,” the minister said.

Much of the speech tackled how government will balance the books while still funding projects intended to improve the lives of South Africans. The minister also outlined promises from government such as an improvement to the country’s logistics network and more.

We were, however, curious to learn more about etolls and how government planned to scrap them.

You’ll recall that during his State of the Province Address on Monday, Premier Panyaza Lesufi announced that the process of shutting down etolls would begin at the end of March. The premier also mentioned that more information would be furnished by Godongwana during the budget speech.

Now that speech has come and gone and there is no information about etolls.

It is entirely possible that mention of etolls was cut from the speech but the absence of the topic doesn’t look good for Lesufi who has a habit of making wild promises. In his address this week, the Premier once again made lofty promises but his updates on existing projects left much to be desired.

Truth be told we’re not surprised that etolls weren’t mentioned, but we are disappointed that they weren’t.

The idea that etolls would be scrapped entirely was first presented during the Medium Term Budget Speech in October 2022.

In that speech Godongwana said that the system would be scrapped and the debt accrued would be adopted in part by national government. The provincial government would pay 30 percent of the debt but as much as R27.7 billion would be paid by national government.

Yet, here we sit two years later with nothing but promises from a Premier who loves to make promises but appears either reluctant or unable to keep them.

It’s never a good look but it looks especially bad in an election year where citizens are laser-focused on every word coming out of politicians’ mouths.

While we’d say that Lesufi and government can’t drag their feet on the etolls matter as there is now a hard deadline of 31st March to begin the unwinding of the system, we’re well aware that deadlines are more of a suggestion when it comes to promises made by our leaders.

South Africans can voice their displeasure of this habit by voting on 29th May. The voting roll closes this Friday 23rd February so be sure to register to vote today.

[Image – CC BY-SA 3.0 JMK (cropped)]


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