Wheels24

E-toll on a roll? Not in Gauteng!

2012-04-13 08:39

Gauteng's e-toll registration outlets were empty on Thursday, April 12, with virtually nobody registering for e-tags despite the looming April 30 deadline for the tolls to go live.

The bright orange e-toll registration outlets, operated by the SA National Roads Agency, are in shopping malls and alongside highways across Gauteng for vehicle owners to register for discount toll fees.

Yet, despite being staffed with three to five cashiers and a branch supervisor, outlets had no customers. At one, a cashier was painting her nails while another read a magazine.

NO QUEUES


Some outlets also had self-help computers for those who didn't need direct help, flat-screen TV's sets and comfortable chairs in anticipation of the queues. At the Maponya mall in Soweto staffing consultant Tshepo Tsotetsi was the only registration in an hour.

"I registered my wife and myself with a heavy heart," he said. "I don't want to break the law and I use the highways all the time getting around for work but I didn't do it in good faith."

At the same mall Bafana Mkhabela took an e-toll registration brochure.

"I use my mom's car to get to college in Centurion and, although I don't want to register, she thinks I should," the third-year computer student said. "It's going to cost our family a lot, though, because I go through four tolls just to get to college."

At Cresta Centre in Randburg, the e-toll outlet was empty, despite three cashiers waiting for customers. Businessman Tertius Barnardt, who uses the post office next door daily, said he had never seen anybody inside.

DRIVERS UNSURE, CONCERNED

"Yesterday I took a pamphlet from a woman handing them out at a traffic light," he said, "she was so delighted and surprised that I was even prepared to take one."

Barnardt said he was still unsure if he would register. "In Gauteng, we are up to our necks in fees and taxes," he said, "and where is the money for this going?"

Lwando Malotana, a training consultant from Randpark Ridge, hoped the whole project would be scrapped before he had to register.

"I watched what happened with the national strike in March and I've been following the debate with interest," he said, referring to the protest against e-tolling by trade union federation Cosatu. "I will wait and see and maybe register just before the tolls go online."

CONSTANTLY MOVING

San Ridge Square in Midrand was busy on Thursday, the parking area full, but the e-toll outlet - empty. This area would be heavily affected by the e-tolls on the N1 which links the area with Johannesburg and Pretoria. At this e-toll outlet, five staff chatted with each other to pass the time.

Stephen Maupi, a credit controller with a cellphone company, said he commuted from Randburg to his office in Midrand and constantly moved around Gauteng visiting stores.

"In South Africa these things are proposed and then we just have to pay. I would like to know more about this Austrian company that has been involved with the e-tolls and where the money from all of this is going."

Michael Mafagane, a maintenance worker commuting weekly from Pretoria to Midrand, said he welcomed the move to exempt public transport from e-tolls.

"There are a lot of cars with just one person in them driving on this highway. Maybe it's time people started using public transport to save on e-toll fees. This is one way of cutting down the traffic on our roads."

At Benmore shopping centre, three cashiers watched the clock until going-home time. The mall was busy but nobody was at the e-toll outlet.

Douglasdale retiree Robin James had no intention of registering for the e-toll. "If the authorities can't get an electricity bill right, why would I give them access to my bank account for the e-toll? "We have had enough. They (Sanral) can send me a bill. If they can find me."

SAPA

Comments
  • Fredster - 2012-04-13 10:30

    The cashiers had a normal day

  • Ian - 2012-04-13 13:07

    This is the greatest show of public opinion I think SA has seen and it is great. I hope no-one goes soft in the knees and caves into this immoral process.

  • Ebon - 2012-04-13 15:59

    Sanral need to catch a wake up and fast. Their belligerent persistence on this issue that "tolls will go ahead" is becoming idiotic. The longer they keep deluding themselves into believing this plan will work, the more it is going to cost them and the taxpayer. They had a plan. They never thought it through very well. As a result it is critically flawed. The only rational way forward is to sit down around a table, hire a few people equipped with that piece of anatomy known as a brain, and figure out a new way to deal with the massive public relations disaster they have created, and come up with a feasible plan to raise the money they need. (Here's a hint Sanral: Fuel levy in Gauteng plus a big license fee on the heavy vehicles that cause the lion's share of damage to our road infrastructure). Right now this project is a disaster and makes the entire country look stupid and shows up our government for the bunch of incompetent buffoons they really are.

      don.odendaal - 2012-04-13 16:54

      I already pay over 6000 rand a year for a 4 ton truck how much do you want me to pay, you should first find out how much people are paying before commenting like this. Also if the licence fee goes up then the price of whatever i am carrying also goes up to the consumer. How many cars are on the road compared to trucks and they do damage the roads also.

      Ebon - 2012-04-16 11:00

      A typical 18 wheeler truck does about 50000 (50 thousand) times more damage to roads than a car and an overloaded truck can more than a million times the damage of a car. I don't know where this idea comes from that we have to keep the price away from the consumer. The bottom line is that the consumer is going to pay one way or another. Whether government pays for it out of tax money (meaning higher taxes for the consumer) or from toll fees collected (from the consumer) or from fuel levies (paid by the consumer) or from higher tariffs payed for goods delivered by trucks. So, as consumers we should be concerned about the overall picture, not just look at the price of goods in the shops. The fact is we use way too much truck transport in SA and far too little rail transport. This happens because the CONSUMER subsidises the costs of roads (through taxes, tolls and fuel levies), while Transnet has to pay for its entire infrastructure. In the end the consumer pays less for freight but more (a LOT more) on road maintenance than we should. Looking at the big picture we (the consumer) would be far better off if the costs of using different freight options were more in line with what they actually cost the country as a whole. Trucks do need to pay more to use our roads. Tolling them on the highways is NOT the answer because then they would use side roads, and cause even more damage. The only way is to target them directly.

  • Colin - 2012-04-14 12:40

    well, what sanral said is true. those who pay will be able to travel quicker and safer. with only about 10 registrations, then those roads will be the best in the country with only 10 people paying... get real sanral, no one wants these. and for once the whole country is united against this

  • John - 2012-04-14 13:43

    People are not ''delaying registering for e-toll tags as News24 states! They are just refusing to register! Period!

  • Jasper - 2012-04-15 09:03

    I'm not going to register and would reocommend that nobody does - are the authorities going to prosecute thousands/millions of road users - they don't have the resources! It will also be a lesson to them not to "unilaterly" implement idiotic projects!!!!

  • Lauden Kirk - 2012-04-15 11:01

    We need to learn from this. We as one all cultures black white rich poor must stand together. We are not separate we are one. We employ our gov they don't employ the nation

  • Ewwbur.Evony - 2012-04-15 11:09

    I do not have the luxury to raid my own taxes. The petrol levies and motor license fees is specifically for maintenance on existent roads. My 7% increase per year does not even come close to cover all the increases and taxes government is asking of us. I will not register not buy an e-tag, I am not taking responsibility for you stuff up.

  • Monica - 2012-04-17 09:21

    Has anyone researched the health effect the EToll scanning system will have on us. Many people will be scanned along with their E tags, many times per day, everyday. What technology is being used to scan the tag and will this cause or aggravate cancer?

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