Headmaster Cyril clamps down on e-tolls Twitter spat

By Colleen Goko

(Bloomberg) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticised ministers in his cabinet for “unbecoming” behaviour on social media after a spat unfolded over electronic road tolls in country’s richest province.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula and the premier of Gauteng province, David Makhura, exchanged words on Twitter after giving conflicting messages on the issue of e-tolling. Many motorists have refused to pay the charge since its introduction in 2013.

Makhura said recently that the system would be scrapped. In a series of tweets, Mboweni said motorists have to pay. Mbalula said public statements on the issue should be avoided until a discussion is held with the president on a way forward.

“Such exchanges on social media are unbecoming of their high offices and fail to provide the leadership required in this instance,” according to a statement from the president’s office on Saturday. Ramaphosa called on the three officials to propose a solution to the impasse to the cabinet by the end of August.

While the user-pay principle remains a policy of government, the electronic tolling system as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan presents challenges in its current form, according to the statement.