Jozi drivers boycott toll roads

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 NOT PLAYING TAG: Crowds flock to the Quagga Centre e-toll office in Pretoria to buy their e-tags ahead of toll activation in Gauteng on December 3. Image: SAPA ~ SAPA
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - Traffic was heavy on un-tolled Johannesburg roads on Wednesday morning as drivers continued to avoid provincial tolled highways.

Johannesburg metro police Spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said: "People are using alternative routes and avoiding the N1, N3, and N12. We cannot say if drivers will eventually get e-tags."

Traffic on the M1 North to the Johannesburg city centre was very heavy, a situation exacerbated by the now traditional Johannesburg broken traffic lights.


Democratic Alliance Gauteng MPL Neil Campbell said the alternative routes were not viable. "One of the roads on this list of alternatives is Witkoppen Road which already carries a huge volume of traffic and has a collapsing bridge."

Prominent engineers, he said, had expressed serious concerns regarding road users' safety on that road but the ANC authorities had done nothing to fix the bridge.

Campbell added: "I hope no lives are lost before this process is complete as the blame for any loss of life will then rest squarely on the shoulders of (Gauteng roads and transport MEC) Ismail Vadi."

Vadi's spokesperson Octavia Mamabolo could not be immediately reached for comment.


On Wednesday (Dec 4 2013) the Johannesburg Star reported that about a dozen wheelchair-bound Gautengers gathered at the Rivonia e-toll customer service centre on Day 1 of the toll roads' activation to protest the lack of e-toll exemption for disabled people.

They were reportedly members of the QuadPara Association SA whose chief executive Ari Seirlis said the ANC government and the SA National Roads Agency had promised tolls exemption for the disabled but failed to keep their promise.

The Star said the wheelchair drivers arrived at the centre to apply for exemption tags but were told by manager Ali Ndou that exemptions were only for public transport.

Seirlis was quoted saying: "We've been burnt by Sanral... we (Qasa) tried to consult with them even as late as last week and we have still not had a response."

The crowd then set fire to a wheelchair and reportedly shouted: "e-tolls tax the poorest of the poor" and "e-tolls will paralyse us".