Catholics denounce... e-tolling

2013-05-21 13:31

JOHANNESBURG - Anti-road tolls organisation Outa* has applauded the Catholic Church's support for its stance against the e-tolling of Gauteng highways.

Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said: "We are extremely pleased that an entity of such stature and magnitude as the Catholic Church has come out to defend the country's citizens against a questionable decision and action by the state.

"This denouncement was clearly conducted after significant research and an introspective assessment of the pros and cons of e-tolling."


Duvenage said the church could have sat back and watched from the sidelines "as so many organisations do", but instead delved into the matter.

"It was ultimately the moral courage of various religious groups and other entities in the past that became the catalyst [for] apartheid's irrational 'house of cards' to come crashing down.”

The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference's justice and peace department said on Monday (May 20) it supported Outa against e-tolling, to be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal in September.

"We... call for the immediate suspension of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project e-tolling project and a full-access review of it in an appropriate forum. We appeal for a re-think regarding alternative methods of funding it."

The SACBC said it felt compelled to highlight the key moral issues underpinning e-tolling.

"Government has a mandate to govern, by virtue of having won an election. Does this mean that they are unaccountable until the next election?" it asked. "Clearly not. Transparent public consultations on controversial issues are bound to be held and taken into account. We fear that this has not been adequately done in this case."

*Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance

Wheels24 says: Moral and other outrage about the fraud that is e-tolling we certainly support - the corruption behind it is as apparent as the Southern Cross - but is this a place where the Church belongs. And if so, why has the Catholic Bishop's Conference taken so long to "stand up" and be counted? A moral holy outcry against slavery, child prostitution, racism, abortion and other human failings, sure, but what next? Guptagate? High taxes? The gold price?

What do YOU think about the Church parking on the side of Outa? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts or use the Readers' Comments section below...


  • Mnr Willemse - 2013-05-21 14:06

    Thank heavens the Catholic Church exists, what will the world be like without Jesus's church? Worse off, that's for sure. We provide food, schools and hope to the third world, where others are absent, and speak out against terrible economic conditions such as what eTolling will bring. Many churches have come and gone, but hell will NEVER prevail against the mighty catholic church !

      Vaughan - 2013-05-21 14:26

      Wow, I never know Roman Emperor Constantine went by the name Jesus?

      Mnr Willemse - 2013-05-21 14:33

      Our church predates Constantine, go do your research

      Neville Watson - 2013-05-21 15:09

      Idolatry, and praying to those other than Jesus?

      Phoenix Px - 2013-05-21 21:16

      Hide your children.

      Omge Klits - 2013-05-22 01:22

      Isn't the Catholic Church the guys who toll the highway to heaven ?

  • Kwashirai Chigodora - 2013-05-21 14:14

    Why are you asking for reader's opinions if you already have your own opinion blatantly splattered out to throw their thinking? You obviously believe the church should stay out of anything but "morality" as your own opinion shows at the end of the article. This is tantamount to a header that reads "The Church should stay out of this one." nevertheless... E-tolling will impact the poor most and that seems to be most people's reason for opposing it. Just as a price increase in bread would... the poor who many like Wheels24 would like to see churches taking care of. The very churches they would rather not have commenting on the very things that hurt the same poor. You cant choose what any part of society should be interested in. The church like any other institution has every right to state their opinions, and to do so only after they have discussed and researched as much as they so would need. For everybody else theirs is to respond with reasons for their argument and not ask questions like "and why are you here and commenting.?"

      Les - 2013-05-22 08:57

      We weren't giving an opinion, but rather posing a pointed question. It's called 'free speech' and everybody is invited to weigh in with their thoughts. E-tolling won't 'affect the poor most' because they do not own a vehicle - and for now, we understand, taxis will not pay the toll.

  • Louis Venter - 2013-05-21 14:29

    The church have a lot of influence in many peoples lives. They are part of the community and have a right to an opinion. I think it is good that they tell what they think especially when it comes to projects like e-tolling which is just there to openly screw the people of the country by greedy politicians. Everyone who is against it must raise their voice so the whole damn world know that this is utter BS and not acceptable. Everyone so far it seems is against e-tolling except the ANC and it's cadres. I suppose that speaks for itself

  • Fredster69 - 2013-05-21 15:11

    Cool, let's the churches have their say. Even they can see that the government wants to screw the man on the street

      Mark Wilson - 2013-05-27 17:36

      It would be great if some of the other churches stood up against e-tolling as well. Catholic Bishops,thanks for standing up for our basic human rights in this case

  • Kwashirai Chigodora - 2013-05-22 15:43

    You have a point that the poor dont have cars, but you must admit you are talking about those in abject poverty. not everybody who owns a car is not poor. Also, transport sits close to the fulcrum that the economy depends on. the increase in prices to transport goods and services will just like a fuel price increase be passed on to the final consumer, which includes the very very poor. The multiplier effect will ensure even those without cars pay as bakeries increase the price of bread to cover the cost of transporting the basic commodity. Fuel logistics, retailers all of them, depend on transportation which will be more expensive due to the toll prices. one way or the other, the poor will pay. The free market has never really solved the poor people's plight.

  • Bertus Pretorius - 2013-05-22 21:12

    God be with us...

  • taggert - 2013-05-23 10:47

    The Blue collar workers, who do have cars, and very linited disposable income, cannot afford to pay R300-R500 per month to come to work, using the same routes they have used for years, surely that is a clear fact !

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