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E-tolling speed bumps

2013-06-03 10:39


E-TOLL GO SLOW IN JOZI: Cosatu members protest the e-tolling system with a drive-slow. in Johannesburg. Image - AP

Back in May 2013 Wheels24 reported that the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) had called on the government to suspend e-tolling if it wanted to support economic growth.

Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said the organisation supported the president, Jacob Zuma's, call for South Africans to promote activities that would enhance economic performance but that Zuma should suspend e-tolling.


Wheels24 reader CHRIS BARRY shares his views on the e-tolling controversy:

While e-tolling is just a couple of parliamentary processes away from implementation in Gauteng, people are still up in arms over what is commonly perceived as another means for the government to squeeze even more money from taxpayers.

The formal backlash against e-tolls in Gauteng is now widely considered to be a lost cause. Outa’s bid to appeal against a High Court decision that ruled for the South African National Road Agency (Sanral) has been deemed likely to fail by legal experts.

Drivers have also been advised that waiting for the outcome of the appeal before buying an e-tags is futile, with Sanral claiming that the appeal has “nothing to do with whether e-tolling should go ahead or not”.


So as e-tolling looms as yet another certainty to add to death and taxes, I have to wonder about the ways in which other ways the process could have been handled.

When it comes to the extremely negative public reaction to e-tolls, I believe the public would have been entirely or at least much more accommodating of the new system if Sanral had simply addressed the following key issues:

1. The serious lack of commitment to the national road grid. Secondary roads such as the Oliviershoek Pass road have collapsed. This begs the question: "How many businesses or secondary roads have collapsed or suffered because of sheer negligence?"

This makes e-tolling look and feel as if it is simply milking the taxpayer cow to death.

2. If the public and affected parties were walked through the national plan and transparently presented with the financial merits of e-tolling I believe a lot of the criticism against the project would be diluted.

Sanral needs to inform the public – we have been taken for a ride for too long. Surely there is a great opportunity for changing perceptions and getting the public on board by making them understand the costs and problems of a national grid.


The real issue for me is that South Africans want the road grid that we have had and enjoyed. Instead, in the current situation, the excellent national roads are now considerably better than the rest of our roads.

While it is fantastic to have Sanral-managed roads, the problem is that as soon as you leave them the ‘journey’ really begins.

I plead with Sanral to present or manage the macro plan, not just the minority national foot print. I bet the general public would participate with enthusiasm if we had this plan and transparency. In fact, I'm willing to put money on it.

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Read more on:    sanral  |  south africa  |  ugc  |  reader  |  e-tolls

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