The Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, on Monday 25 June 2012, met with religous leaders under the auspices of the South African Council of Churches (SACC). The meeting held at Khotso House, Johannesburg was part of the consultative process on the GFIP.
The Deputy President was accompanied by the Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and Minister of Transport, the Deputy Ministers of Finance and Transport as well as Directors-General of the departments represented in the Inter-Ministerial Committee. The religious delegation was led by Dr Kobus Gerber, the Deputy President of the SACC.
The religious leaders welcomed the GFIP and saw it as an important infrastructure project that will improve South Africa's economic activity as well as the lives of the people using the highways. The SACC however, was of the view that there was insufficient consultation on the project. In relation to this morning's meeting, the SACC welcomed government's efforts to open up discussions, engage and to listen to their concerns with a view to reaching an amicable solution.
While the SACC accepted the rationale of the GFIP as part of the strategy to decongest the roads, they expressed concerns at the state of public transport and urged government to take urgent steps to provide a reliable, efficient and quality public transport system.
The meeting agreed that whilst this morning's meeting was fruitful and an important milestone to resolving issues, there needs to be further and regular consultations on a number of issues affecting South Africans. The meeting resolved to continue discussions, including e-tolling as part of GFIP, in the near future.
The Deputy President welcomed the discussions and undertook that once all consultations are concluded, Cabinet will consider all suggestions and decide on the way forward.